TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
FOR THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DU
CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
SUBJECT / SUJET:
BROADCASTING APPLICATIONS AND LICENCES/
DEMANDES ET LICENCES EN RADIODIFFUSION
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Vancouver Trade Vancouver Trade
& Convention Centre & Convention Centre
Room 8-15 Salle 8-15
999 Canada Place 999, Canada Place
British Columbia (Colombie-Britannique)
February 23, 2000 Le 23 février 2000
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
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
Broadcasting Applications and Licences/
Demandes et licences en radiodiffusion
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Françoise Bertrand Présidente/Chairperson
Présidente du Conseil/
Chairperson of the Commission
Andrée Wylie Conseillère/Commissioner
Stuart Langford Commissioner/Conseiller
Cindy Grauer Commissioner/Conseillère
Barbara Cram Commissioner/Conseillère
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Lori Assheton-Smith Legal Counsel/
Michael Burnside Hearing Manager/ Gérant de l'audience
Marguerite Vogel Secrétaire de l'audience/
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Vancouver Trade Vancouver Trade
& Convention Centre & Convention Centre
Room 8-15 Salle 8-15
999 Canada Place 999, Canada Place
British Columbia (Colombie-Britannique)
February 23, 2000 Le 23 février 2000
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES
PHASE III - INTERVENTION BY / PAR
The National Broadcast Reading
Service Inc. 706
British Columbia Film 716
Canadian Independent Film Caucus
(BC Chapter) 729
Vancouver Multicultural Society 742
Capital Region Race Relations Association 759
City of Nanaimo 777
Kumar Sikka 786
Directors Guild of Canada 806
Trevor Chan and Michael Johal 817
Crisanta Sampang, Planet Aaj Radio;
Baljit Deo and Michael Sunnar 824
Baljit Sangra, Eagle Eye Films;
Loretta Todd, Endless Entertainment Inc.;
and Andrew Ooi 831
Face to Face Media 845
Shavick Entertainment and No Equal
Entertainment Inc. 850
Diane Farris Gallery 856
Granville Entertainment Group 866
Christine Haebler and Scott Smith 873
Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver 884
Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Association 890
Canadian Ethnocultural Council 896
Milton K. Wong and Barbara Brink 904
Joseph D. Sorbara and Brian G. Baynham 912
Law Courts Education Society of
British Columbia 920
Gurmant Grewal, Official Opposition
Deputy House Leader 927
Omni Film Productions Ltd. and
Paperny Films Inc. 935
United Chinese Community Enrichment
Services Society (S.U.C.C.E.S.S.) 945
Tokmakov Productions 954
Gurnam Singh Ranu 960
Nirvana Films and Crossroads
Productions Inc. 964
Balwant Singh Gill 974
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES
PHASE III - INTERVENTION BY / PAR (cont'd)
Canadian Association of Media Education
Organizations and the Jesuit Communication
Port Theatre and Nanaimo Art Gallery 984
High Road Productions Inc. and
Tapestry Films Ltd. 990
Smooth Productions 997
Barry W. Kelsey 1003
New Music West 2000 1011
CKTV & Production Inc. 1016
Vancouver, British Columbia / Vancouver (C.-B.)
--- Upon resuming on Wednesday, February 23, 2000
at 0800 / L'audience reprend le mercredi
23 février à 0800
3976 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good morning. I would ask the Secretary to please call our first intervenor.
3977 MS VOGEL: Thank you, Madam Chairman. The first group of intervenors we will hear from this morning is The National Broadcast Reading Service Inc.: Robert S. Trimbee, Alix Nicoll, Paul Thiele and John Stubbs.
3978 Please go ahead whenever you are ready.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
3979 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good morning.
3980 MS NICOLL: Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, my name is Alix Nicoll. I am the Vice-President of The National Broadcast Reading Service Inc. and President of our new VoicePrint BC chapter.
3981 On my right is Paul Thiele, a B.C. director of NBRS and Vice-President of VoicePrint BC. On my left is John Stubbs, NBRS operations chief and Director of AlternateMedia Canada, the technology division of NBRS; and on Mr. Thiele's right is Bob Trimbee, NBRS Executive Director.
3982 You have our sincere thanks for giving us this time to appear to intervene against the applications for television licences by CHUM Ltd., Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. and CFMT-TV, a division of Rogers Broadcasting Limited.
3983 As you well know, NBRS has appeared before at your hearings to advance the cause of described video services -- DVS. Our media charity is dedicated to the enhanced use of the broadcasting system in Canada by blind and vision-restricted viewers. These 2.8 million Canadians -- including about 350,000 in B.C. -- have a right of access to the system equal to others.
3984 In Public Notice CRTC 1996-97 (11 June 99), the Commission supported in principle the implementation of DVS programming. The Commission also said:
3985 (1) licensees and our company should continue to co-operate in order to effect the gradual implementation of DVS;
3986 (2) it will at licence renewal, explore with licensees the progress that has been made in meeting the needs of viewers with diminished vision.
3987 Well, Commissioners, when we suggested to each applicant through the intervention process tied to this hearing that each incorporate DVS in their broadcast schedule starting in their first year of operations, one applicant did not respond and the others proposed to address the question at licence renewal.
3988 Surely the Commission did not think that new licensees should be exempt from the implementation of DVS.
3989 In its comments, CHUM Ltd. says NBRS has done nothing constructive to advance the implementation of DVS. This is disappointing and surprising.
3990 I will now ask Mr. Thiele to outline some of the things we have done so far.
3991 MR. THIELE: Most importantly, we have raised the issue of DVS with the Commission to the point where the CRTC has said publicly that it supports its implementation.
3992 We have gone on record with the CRTC and with all Canadian broadcasters that any broadcaster can use the national audio service of VoicePrint for the simultaneous distribution of a described soundtrack. So the broadcast of described programming need not all rest on using S.A.P. facilities.
3993 We have contacted every applicant through this particular public hearing, trying to get DVS facilities built into any new television plant.
3994 We have met with CAB's Joint Committee on Societal Issues and Trends to talk about organizing through CAB the production in total by CAB members of two hours a week of described television programming for use by its members.
3995 We have contacted CBC, CanWest Global, Alliance Atlantis, Shaw, applicants before the CRTC for renewal or transfers of ownership -- and have suggested that they get into DVS in the near or immediate future.
3996 And, Commissioners, I would draw your attention to the "Milestones of Canadian DVS" attached to the text of our comments to you today.
3997 Commissioners, we are here today as a matter of principle. We know that DVS has a place in the Canadian broadcasting system. And we are here in support of that principle.
3998 At the same time, we wish to illustrate again that we have a fantastic described-video division that has produced some of the best work anywhere. CBC, Alliance Atlantis and others have hired us to produce described versions of programming for broadcast.
3999 Watch this sample, a bilingual work which was the centrepiece, February 9th, in CNIB's first-ever national campaign on Braille literacy.
--- Video presentation / Présentation vidéo
4000 MR. STUBBS: Commissioners, we see in responses to our intervention a complaint about the cost of description. For a single project we charge $100 a minute. Others might say: "Gosh! $100 a minute times 1,440 minutes a day times 365 days...no, that's too expensive."
4001 We respond as follows: We are talking only about the broadcast of two hours a week of described programming.
4002 This description work can be done by the broadcasters themselves or by a description house that can meet their cost expectations. We don't care who does the work, just that it gets done. We are not here to talk about NBRS building a business through the implementation of new regulatory obligations on other licensees.
4003 We know that description costs can be offset in a variety of creative ways. For example, we approached CITY-TV/CHUM Ltd. in early 1997 with an offer to describe each week -- at no charge -- one of the two-hour movies scheduled to be broadcast by CITY-TV. In return we would get a negotiated number of promotional avails during the described broadcasts -- a pattern developed to offset the cost of broadcasting programs that are captioned.
4004 Further, under that particular scenario, what is the real cost to CHUM Television if it contracted to have a two-hour movie professionally described each week and then bicycled the described version among its other stations.
4005 Also, as noted, should its S.A.P. capacity be tied up with other revenue-generating activities at the time of the broadcast, there is the possibility of VoicePrint broadcasting the described audio track.
4006 As the Commission also knows, quite separate from our talks with CITY-TV/CHUM Ltd. and other broadcasters, we long ago proposed to the CAB that it co-ordinate a national description plan through which its television members each year could pool their resources to produce 104 hours of described Canadian television drama and children's programming.
4007 Participants would have access to the entire catalogue of described programs by paying a share of the description costs. We added that if we were asked to produce that volume of description work, NBRS would be to look for ways to offer a volume discount of at least 20 per cent.
4008 Commissioners, description costs are not going to get in the way of DVS.
4009 Now, in the area of technical problems faced by a licensee getting involved with DVS, we hear a broadcaster has to:
4010 (1) put a SAP generator on to his tower;
4011 (2) rewire his entire existing plant;
4012 (3) dedicate expensive playback equipment solely to the task of handling SAP broadcasts.
4013 I think we can respond simply to these concerns.
4014 Putting a SAP generator on to a transmitter: Yes, it is true that that must be done if a unit now is not installed. Such a generator costs $10,000 Canadian. In our view, it is likely that broadcasters will use their SAP facilities to develop other revenue-generating businesses in catering to viewers wishing to receive foreign-language audio broadcasts. Some already do.
4015 Rewiring a television plant: We agree with CHUM Ltd. that it makes sense to ensure that a new television facility can broadcast an SAP signal. But the technical translation of that comment is not that a broadcaster must spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to install special wiring and switches to automate the relay of SAP transmissions. There is a zero likelihood of any licensee undertaking such a grandiose capital expense, especially when a simple switch costing a few hundred dollars can do the trick.
4016 We provided the Commission with the schematics of such a switching arrangement a the fall 1998 public hearing on future television policy.
4017 Dedicate a VCR to described activity only: Broadcasters have sufficient VCR playback equipment to allocate a unit, on an as-needed basis for use in any SAP broadcast. But if a broadcaster wished to do so, the one-time cost of buying a VCR for specific purpose would be about $10,000. But why would they?
4018 Commissioners, Canadian broadcasters have a wonderful history of responding to viewer needs. If there is a will to see something happen, they find creative ways to mitigate obstacles, such as those some erroneously believe preclude them from producing and broadcasting DVS programming. It's essential that new entrants be involved with DVS from the outset and gear up their plants to make it so.
4019 We speak always of using SAP technology to broadcast described programming because open description may be a challenge for some viewers. We have produced our described videos anticipating open description, but the preferred broadcast delivery will be closed (i.e. with the described sound audio track transmitted within the SAP).
4020 That logistical approach, among other things, means that DVS can be introduced into the broadcasting system with the least impact in terms of channel capacity constraints.
4022 MR. TRIMBEE: Thank you, John.
4023 Commissioners, the licensees before you see DVS as something to do at some nebulous and future date. That is just not good enough.
4024 Three years ago, DVS became part of television in the United Kingdom. The initial content level was set at 2 per cent. It now is 6 per cent and will reach 10 per cent by 2002.
4025 DVS has been a regular element of broadcasting in the United States for a decade. In that time, PBS has broadcast more than 1,600 described programs. Now the FCC has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require private broadcasters in the top 25 markets -- which includes nearby Seattle -- to air four hours a week of DVS programs.
4026 In Canada, the principle has been approved. You have said DVS programming will be introduced gradually. It's now a question of when people who cannot see the screen or cannot see it well, finally will enjoy Canadian television as all other citizens do.
4027 Our appearance today is not about building a DVS business within NBRS. It is about the principle of adding DVS to Canadian television just as years ago captioning for viewers with diminished hearing became an integral element of Canadian broadcasting. If not as a result of this hearing, then when will DVS become part of Canadian broadcasting?
4028 We urge you, in licensing any of CHUM Ltd., Craig Broadcast Systems and/or CFMT-TV to ensure that the access needs of Canadians with diminished visions be respected. There are no technical or economic reasons for doing otherwise.
4030 MS NICOLL: We would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
4031 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
4032 Commissioner Grauer.
4033 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you. Welcome...
--- Technical difficulties / Problèmes techniques
4034 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Madam Secretary.
4035 MS VOGEL: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
4036 Our next intervenor is British Columbia Film, Rob Egan.
4037 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good morning, Mr. Egan. Please proceed.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4038 MR. EGAN: Good day, Madam Chair, fellow Commissioners, staff, and ladies and gentlemen.
4039 My name is Rob Egan, and I am the President and CEO of British Columbia Film. With me here today is Liz Shorten, Communications and Corporate Affairs Co-ordinator for British Columbia Film.
4040 We are pleased to appear before you today to expand upon our written comments, as part of this regulatory proceeding regarding new television stations in Vancouver and Victoria.
4041 As we stated in our written submission, British Columbia Film does not support any particular applicant in these proceedings. Additionally, we will restrict our comments primarily to the applications by Rogers/CFMT, CHUM and Craig Broadcasting's A-Channel application.
4042 British Columbia Film is a privately-administered, non-profit society with a mandate to expand and diversify the cultural industries of film and video in British Columbia. The Society offers a range of programs, including production and development financing to projects with significant B.C. components. This includes dramatic, animated and documentary film and television productions.
4043 In addition, British Columbia Film administers the Province's film and television tax incentive programs, Film Incentive BC and the Production Services Tax Credit. In total, British Columbia Film administers programs worth approximately $40 million per year.
4044 In our written submissions we touched on a number of specific areas of concern to British Columbia Film regarding the British Columbia indigenous production industry. This indigenous sector of the industry in British Columbia has shown promising growth in recent years, a growth in new investment and increased production that is testament to the creative talent, experienced crews, entrepreneurial skill and public policy initiatives that have encouraged it.
4045 Toronto, however continues to enjoy significant benefits over Vancouver. It is the home base for industry decision-makers from the large Canadian production and broadcasting companies and national funding agencies. In B.C. we are poised to lose WIC, the only large conventional broadcaster based in British Columbia, in the very near future.
4046 To the greatest extent possible, we must ensure that the framework for future business development, employment, creative opportunity and cultural expression is enhanced in British Columbia, and these applications must be considered with those goals at the forefront.
4047 We note with concern that none of these applicants before the Commission are B.C. companies. In this regard, we feel it is imperative for the applicants to demonstrate a commitment to high quality programming produced by the independent British Columbian production community. As well, we believe that authority for decision-making will best serve the B.C. industry if that authority is vested in the successful applicant's entity in the province, rather than a head office located east of the Rockies.
4048 We also believe it is imperative for the applicants to address the changing diversity and ethnic make-up of the community it hopes to serve. From our perspective, the reflection of the exciting and changing face of British Columbia society must be a central component of the Commission's deliberations.
4049 Above all, we believe an unequivocal commitment to the indigenous B.C. film and television production community must be clear and comprehensive. Beyond the promises made when applying, our test is the delivery of production and development financing; promotional and marketing support to guarantee opportunities for B.C. talent and B.C. companies; and a commitment to bring to the screen the stories, voices and faces of British Columbia in local, regional and national programming.
4050 Priority programming, as outlined by the Commission in Public Notice 1999-205, is mandatory for the largest broadcast groups, including WIC, CanWest Global, and CTV. None of the new applicants are required to meet these thresholds, as they each broadcast to less than 70 per cent of the country. Craig and CHUM have pledged, however, to broadcast varying levels of priority programming on their proposed new stations.
4051 As we stated in our written submission, we take issue with the Commission's definition of what constitutes priority programming. Firstly, the Commission has determined that it will only provide incentives for regional programming outside of the genres of drama, music, variety, documentary, news and other information programming, and sports.
4052 This restricts regionally-produced priority programming to the marginal categories of religion, education, game shows, and general entertainment and human interest. As a result, there is no specific incentive for the larger broadcasters, such as CanWest Global or CTV, to produce quality programming in the most significant (and previously under-represented) categories of drama, music, variety and documentary programming, outside of Toronto and Montreal.
4053 Secondly, even within these limited programming categories that do qualify as regional priority programming, the Commission has determined that Vancouver does not qualify as a region. While the potential exists for Vancouver to become established as a centre of English-language production comparable to Toronto, it must be understood that Vancouver and British Columbia are still not on a level playing field when compared to our central Canadian counterparts.
4054 Therefore, as detailed in our written submission, we continue to disagree with the Commission's decision to exclude Vancouver from being considered a region for the purposes of qualifying as a source for regional priority programming. We are concerned that this definition will likely set a precedent that other organizations may follow.
4055 Thirdly, the Commission will consider local programming as regionally produced priority programming if it is produced in Victoria. We welcome the Commission's recognition of Victoria as a region outside of Vancouver. However, as noted above, similar programming originating in Vancouver will not be considered regionally produced priority programming.
4056 We hope that these new applications before the Commission and their proposals for producing B.C.-based priority programming will help to counteract these limitations.
4057 Beyond priority programming commitments, however, is the commitment by Canadian broadcasters to provide national exposure to programming that originates from regions across the country.
4058 Craig, Rogers and CHUM have identified in their applications opportunities for national exposure for B.C.-based producers and have offered specific production funds in their applications, with varying commitments for national exposure, as noted in our written submission.
4059 National exposure is of critical importance to developing a strong and viable production community in British Columbia.
4060 The Commission must assess the proposals made by each of these applicants to ensure that their production and development funding commitments are adequate to deliver the level of high quality production that each applicant promises, especially in this era of over-subscription of public funds.
4061 As part of their production promises, each of the applicants intends to put in place a local development officer. This commitment to regionally based decision-making will greatly assist in the ability to have regional and national broadcasting content emerge from outside Toronto or Montreal.
4062 However, we seek reassurance that this is not a token gesture by the applicants, and that it demonstrates a real long-term commitment to regional decision-making.
4063 Viewers should be able to access locally-produced programs which reflect their values and concerns. Local television stations must use the talents and ideas of our community to speak directly and personally to viewers, as well as provide a showcase for the talent of regional producers, writers and directors who can deliver such programming.
4064 The Craig and CHUM applications contain significant local commitments, while the Rogers application provides a more focused commitment to local ethnic programming.
4065 Given that the CRTC has recently removed the requirement for local stations to provide local reflection in any quantifiable amount, including news, we feel that local commitments should be of major consideration for the CRTC in any deliberations regarding a new television station in this market. Local production often provides opportunities for the development of local talent, an important stepping stone in growing the indigenous industry in British Columbia.
4066 Therefore, it is the delivery on the commitments outlined in these various applications that will ultimately have an impact. A commitment to scheduling and promotion at times when B.C. audiences are available, as well as the support and exposure of British Columbia content providers on the national scene, are key factors which we hope will guide the Commission's decision.
4067 We encourage the Commission to consider these issues seriously and to render a decision which looks with clear vision to the potential and opportunity for British Columbia; a decision which clearly supports British Columbia's indigenous industry and its changing communities; and a decision which recognizes the well-spring of talent and skill that British Columbians offer to the cultural fabric of the Canadian film, television and broadcast industry and to Canadian viewers across the country.
4068 Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this morning.
4069 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you. I would ask Commissioner Langford to ask some questions.
4070 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: This is a little difficult. I have been kind of wrestling with this question as I have been listening, and I don't mean to sound offensive -- but maybe I will; I haven't had enough coffee this morning.
4071 I listened to the whole thing. I can't figure out why you are here, in a sense. I have read your brief. We have heard all the applications. Essentially, you are giving us the same thing that was in your brief, which was perfect in the sense of a before these are the concerns we would like you to listen to when the applicants come.
4072 But the applicants have come. I think what would be really helpful, at least to me -- and we don't have pre-game meetings here, so I can't speak for anyone else.
4073 MR. EGAN: Yes.
4074 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: You have heard them now. You have their points. They are very clear on page 2, and they were clear in your brief -- your priorities. What do you think? Who do you love, as they say?
4075 MR. EGAN: We love the B.C. production community and we love B.C. film makers.
4076 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Well, so do I. But that doesn't help me with the challenge I have ahead.
4077 MR. EGAN: I listened carefully to Commissioner Wylie's comments last night when the CFTPA presented their submission as well. I think what our intent is, in terms of being here today, is obviously to restate the priorities that we think are important. Our Board does not feel at this point in time that it is appropriate for B.C. Film, which is there primarily to support producers and film makers, to endorse publicly one application over another. That is, as you know, a delicate situation to be in.
4078 I also think that for an organization like ours, frankly we recognize and acknowledge that we simply don't have the resources and the capacity, nor the expertise, to do the kind of detailed analysis of television applications that is required.
4079 What we can speak with some confidence and authority about is what we think is important for the independent production community here in B.C. That is a long non-answer to some extent, and I appreciate the frustration that you might feel about that position. Nonetheless, it is one that we feel we have to adopt.
4080 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Well, I respect your position. The only problem is I knew it already, so I am hearing it again. And that's fine. I am getting the described video, I guess. It's an extra kick at the can.
4081 I can only suggest that I kind of look at the applicants who come before us as Canadian risk takers.
4082 MR. EGAN: Yes, as do we.
4083 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: And that is pretty admirable. They are putting it all out there, and the are going against each other. And that is interesting, to me. Maybe your board would like to get a little more risky in the future. It would help us. I don't say that facetiously, but taking that extra step would help us.
4084 MR. EGAN: Comment well taken.
4085 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much.
4086 MR. EGAN: Thank you.
4087 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Commissioner Cram has a question for you.
4088 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I am sort of concerned about the long term, and I would like to hear your view on it. We look at television applications, and everybody puts lots of money on the table. They love Calgary, Edmonton, Barrie, you name it, for seven years. And that's as long as the commitments go.
4089 I ask myself where that gets the production industry. We have, name it, so many million dollars over the first licence term.
4090 Does that create a critical mass? Does it depend on the amount of money that is put in in the first seven years? What is the long-term effect, and is there a long-term effect? Or are we just putting our fingers in the dam to bankruptcy or oblivion for production?
4091 I just want your views.
4092 MR. EGAN: I appreciate that it is a complex question with a complex answer.
4093 COMMISSIONER CRAM: It is not a non-answer?
4094 MR. EGAN: I work for an organization that is funded on an annual basis, and with that comes all the challenge and difficulty of making commitments to long-term planning. I wish we had a seven-year commitment that would enable us to look at how we might invest strategically in various sectors of the indigenous industry and to look with a view to how things might change the gaps that we can address.
4095 Certainly in British Columbia I think that we are experiencing a rapid growth in the film and television sector. That growth is in both the service sector and the indigenous sector. I think the introduction of ETV into the market several years ago has had an impact, and I would expect that the introduction of a new licence at this time will also have a positive impact.
4096 From our position in terms of our role in the industry here, what we see is more money brought to the table. We see more money being invested in development, and we see more productions eventually going forward.
4097 So on the whole, we have a very positive view of the continuing growth of the industry here. We certainly welcome the level of interest and commitment and risk-taking, as Commissioner Langford has described it, that these applications have put on the table.
4098 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
4099 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor today is the B.C. Chapter of the Canadian Independent Film Caucus.
4100 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good morning. Welcome.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4101 MR. CARRUTHERS: My name is Stephen Carruthers. I am the co-chair of the Vancouver chapter of the Canadian Independent Film Caucus. Beside me is Karen Lam, and Cari Green will be joining us in the next two minutes.
4102 I am going to start off our presentation by letting you know a bit about the Caucus, who we are, who we represent, stress the importance of the documentary industry in the changing global marketplace and particularly in Vancouver. Then I am going to underscore the opportunity for our membership that is offered by a new local station in Vancouver. Karen will then comment on the various applications, and Cari is going to give our recommendations.
4103 The Canadian Independent Film Caucus is an organization of over 350 documentary producers across Canada. We are representing the Vancouver chapter of the Caucus, which has a membership of over 100. We are primarily a lobby group. We have been very active lobbying at both the federal level and at the provincial level, and we have become known as the voice of the documentary industry over the last two or three years. Locally, we also provide a very active networking group and put on a lot of professional development events for our members. It is quite an active organization.
4104 Combined with our industrial mandates and our lobbying, we also have a strong cultural commitment to the kind of social and political documentaries that Canada is really known for. We are very proud to count among our membership members like Mark Achbar(ph), the producer of "Manufacture and Consent", who is currently working on a new documentary entitled "The Corporation". We have Nettie Wilde(ph) in our ranks, who is well know for her documentary "It's Like a Place Called Chiapas".
4105 As well as those small independent producers of the more social and political documentaries, we also have a number of medium sized and growing production companies, including Omni Film Productions, which is a well-known local company that produces a variety of series, including "Champions of the Wild", "Quiet Places", and has made that step from being a small company to a medium sized company that a lot of our membership is really at work on making that step.
4106 Locally, our membership has mushroomed in the last three years. Three years ago we were at about 50 members, thinking we have tapped the entire documentary scene in Vancouver, and now we have well over 100 members locally in Vancouver, documentary producers, and routinely have sellout workshops every month that get a huge crowd of members and non-members coming for the panel discussions.
4107 This is quite indicative of both the growth in the documentary sector of the production industry on the whole and the fact that Vancouver has become a real hub, a real hotbed of documentary activity over the last few years.
4108 The documentary industry is hugely important globally right now. Documentary programming is in high demand. We have seen a huge growth in the number of specialty channels which are commissioning large amounts of documentary programming. And there is a huge demand globally for documentary programs.
4109 A lot of our producers are increasingly seeking access to global markets, be it Europe, be it the U.K., be it the United States. But there is a huge growing demand for documentary programming.
4110 The good news is that Canadian companies are exporting their documentaries. There has been a big increase in the amount of documentary production for export. The bad news is that this production is primarily centred in Toronto and that Vancouver hasn't really accessed that global marketplace yet to nearly the same extent, which is why having a local station in Vancouver commissioning documentaries is one of the biggest opportunities that we have seen for our membership in some time.
4111 It is really an opportunity for us to get beyond -- I mean, everybody has heard the tired thousand-dollar cup of coffee story, about the producer flying to Toronto to actually bump into someone or have a meeting with the key decisionmaker in Toronto.
4112 What we need in Vancouver is the opportunity to bump into our commissioning editors, to bump into our decisionmakers at our Safeway in Kitsilano or at Urban Fair in Yaletown, and just have access to those people on an ongoing basis to develop the relationships that will really allow us to grow our companies.
4113 With a genuine locally-run station where commissioning decisions are made here, basically it is an outlet for more documentary programming produced in B.C. It gives us better access to the decisionmakers, better access to more licences, which allows us to strengthen our companies and strengthen the documentary sector of the industry as a whole, which is what our members want to help us grow, to stabilize our companies and actually allow us to grow to the point where we are really playing in the global marketplace as well.
4114 In summary, a new station in Vancouver is a big opportunity for us. Karen is going to comment on the applications.
4115 MS LAM: We have actually chosen to focus our intervention on three of the main broadcasters that we think would have the most impact on documentary productions, which are LMTV, which is Rogers; A-Channel on the Island, Craig Broadcasting; and CHUM Television in Vancouver.
4116 I think it would be really pointless and boring for us to just read the intervention out loud, but I have highlights from our letter, where we simply have gone over what each application will do for documentary productions.
4117 The first applicant is LMTV. Of the three broadcasters, only LMTV seems committed specifically to documentary film making. We note that they are licensing a minimum of 15 new documentary programs over the term of their licence. They are offering high licence fees. They have script development specifically for documentaries, and they are going to set up a high profile documentary strand that shows during prime time hours for the documentaries.
4118 They are also promising travel allowances for documentary film makers to attend the national and international markets, which is what documentary film makers need if they are going to establish relationships and to tap into that larger market. And they have a local commissioning editor.
4119 We acknowledge that there has been a long-term relationship between Rogers Broadcasting and documentary film making. They have Rogers Telefund, which has provided interim financing that is structured for documentary productions so that you don't have to go to the banks and mortgage your house and give up your first born.
4120 There is the Documentary Fund which provides $4 million annually for documentary productions as well.
4121 A-Channel on the Island is focused on long form Canadian drama, and they have orally told us that there are some allowances for long-form Canadian documentary programming as well.
4122 The commitments for short form documentary productions have been strictly verbal at this point, and there are no financial amounts reserved specifically for documentary productions.
4123 I believe that long form documentaries are favoured over short form documentaries. And given most of the documentary productions that come out of our region, the short form is rather important. And I think a lot of our members are producing short form documentaries.
4124 With CHUM Television, they focused also on long form Canadian drama. The supplemental written materials include references to documentary productions, but there are no specific financial commitments or proposed marketing plans for these productions.
4125 We do note, also, that CHUM Television Vancouver could have a positive impact on B.C. producers because it would allow us to have access to other CHUM stations, such as Bravo! or Space, which do regularly license documentary productions.
4126 Given Stephen's remarks as well on the documentary community, we have a very strong reputation for producing strong socially and culturally relevant work. We have some concerns that not all of the applicants are recognizing the needs of documentary film making in our community.
4127 We do acknowledge, again, that LMTV has recognized the importance of short form documentaries, but we need a commitment from all the applicants that our needs are going to be met as well.
4128 The concern for A-Channel and CHUM is that the documentaries that they might be commissioning are what they term bunny ears, which is essentially fluff documentaries: high on the entertainment level, low on the social, political, cultural content.
4129 Historically, A-Channel in Alberta has licensed only high profile documentaries such as "Hit Man Hart - Wrestling with Shadows", which is not to say that Hit Man Hart isn't culturally and socially relevant, but it is more on the entertainment level than what our documentary producers would like to be doing.
4130 There is not a strong focus on documentary programming in the other channels for Craig Broadcasting. With CHUM again, there are some arts and entertainment documentaries, but Space Channel seems to be focusing on the weird and paranormal, which again is not necessarily bad product but we would like a little more hard-hitting docs.
4131 Actually, now we have some recommendations from Cari as far as the CIFC. Thank you.
4132 MS GREEN: Given the importance of the documentary industry to B.C. film makers, just to reiterate what we are looking for, it is a long-term commitment. We have seen some recently licensed channels come in and make promises, but those promises are not necessarily transformed into a long-term commitment.
4133 The high profile documentary strand seems to be the best strategy for the industry. Prime time broadcasts, high licences: we have seen again commitment to high licences, and those licences have dwindled in the last couple of years.
4134 Access to second windows as well across the country. Development funds is incredibly important; and very important is access to global markets.
4135 We also want to note that in our letter we had mentioned that regional licences do not qualify us for the Canadian Television Fund, and that is incorrect. They do.
4136 In conclusion, we need a network that will make a commitment and keep it. We have found that only one of those applicants has written in to their application and has done their homework in terms of what this industry needs, and that is LMTV.
4137 I would also add that Rogers has made a commitment to an equity fund, which is another promising development for our industry as well.
4138 We recommend that the CRTC look very closely at the applicants they license and require that these applicants pay close attention to the needs of our documentary industry.
4139 Thank you.
4140 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
4141 Commissioner Cram.
4142 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you, Madam Chair.
4143 Thank you for coming. I am a little confused. I think, Mr. Carruthers, you started off saying you were with the Vancouver chapter. And throughout, when you were talking, it seemed like Vancouver and British Columbia were used interchangeably.
4144 Who are you?
4145 MR. CARRUTHERS: We had a bit of an identity crisis. We are the Vancouver chapter, and the documentary industry in B.C. is pretty much focused in Vancouver. So we have members in Vancouver. We have members on the Sunshine Coast, in Victoria. It is both. We are basically the CIFC west of Toronto.
4146 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay, I get it. If you are west of Toronto, do you include Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta?
4147 MR. CARRUTHERS: No, we don't.
4148 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Then there was a reference to the station in Vancouver, but you are really talking about stations in the area. You are talking about Victoria, if there are any licences given in Victoria.
4149 MR. CARRUTHERS: Yes, definitely. That will still give us greatly improved access. It is really -- I guess for Vancouver basically substitute region of Vancouver-Victoria.
4150 COMMISSIONER CRAM: It appears -- and I may be putting words in your mouth; and if so, tell me -- that in terms of the documentary production, the commitment and the global and national exposure, you believe is LMTV is the one that provides your chapter with the best option.
4151 MR. CARRUTHERS: That is correct. There is an actual commitment written in to their application to the documentary sector.
4152 I think Cari has a comment.
4153 MS GREEN: I just wanted to add that not only our chapter, but it is a strategy for the growth of documentaries. Our chapter represents perhaps a portion of the industry, which is a very large industry.
4154 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes, surely.
4155 I note, Ms Lam, that there is the preference for short form, not weird, not fluffy documentaries. But it seems to me that LMTV should be concentrating on what I would call ethnic documentaries.
4156 So to me, that is another subset of the ones you want, the weird ones and the bunny ears ones; and then there is another subset that I would say would be the ethnic ones.
4157 It would seem to me, in terms of the ethnic, that you would actually want people from those ethnic communities to develop those documentaries. Is there that critical mass?
4158 MS LAM: Right now, based on our membership, I think if there is a station like this it would encourage more documentary film makers of ethnic backgrounds to actually get involved. Documentary film making, I think, is a little more egalitarian as far as people can go out there and create and produce these pieces that are socially and culturally relevant to their communities in a way that I think with feature film and long form, based on the price and the amount of labour that is necessary, it is not quite as open; with the expense of long form drama.
4159 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you very much for coming.
4160 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
4161 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor today is KCTV & Production Inc.
--- Pause / Pause
4162 MS VOGEL: I don't see anyone from KCTV coming forward, so we will re-call them later.
4163 I would ask Vancouver Media Directors Council to come forward, please.
--- Pause / Pause
4164 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: They didn't know we were starting early.
4165 MS VOGEL: How about the Vancouver Multicultural Society?
4166 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good morning. You are an early riser too.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4167 MS ALLARD-STRUTT: Madame la Présidente, Membres du Conseil, thank you for this opportunity to comment on applications before you for the introduction of local multicultural television broadcasting.
4168 My name is Suzanne Allard-Strutt. I am the Executive Director of the Vancouver Multicultural Society. For 25 years we have been serving as the umbrella organization for a broadly based coalition of groups and individuals from ethnocultural communities in the Greater Vancouver Region.
4169 Our board of directors alone is representative of Vancouver's diversity, with membership from the following communities: Chinese, Indo-Canadian, African, Caribbean, Latin American, Guyanese, Swedish, Métis, Polish, Hungarian, Scottish, Jewish, English and French Canadian.
4170 My presentation this morning reflects my board's consensus with regard to elements of multicultural broadcasting.
4171 The mandate of the Vancouver Multicultural Society is to increase understanding and communication across cultures and to raise awareness of the social enrichment that is multiculturalism.
4172 I should make it clear from the onset that as an umbrella organization we are not in a position to support one licence applicant over the other. However, we believe there are fundamental principles that should guide the operations of a new television service. I am here to outline some of these in the hope that they will be useful during your review of the CHUM Limited and CFMT-TV applications.
4173 These observations are formed strictly by our mandate to foster cross-cultural communication and understanding.
4174 My comments will touch upon the following areas: ethnic versus linguistic programming; multilingual versus multicultural programming; Canadian versus multicultural programming and foreign content; and finally, accessibility for small and under-represented ethnocultural communities.
4175 To describe as ethnic programming that is not mainstream is a misnomer. We all have ethnicity, whether we are First Nations, French or English Canadians, or immigrants from anywhere else around the world.
4176 When we describe as ethnic programming in languages other than French or English, we ostracize minority ethnocultural communities who have French or English as their first language. Further, we must acknowledge that French and English are the two languages through which all communities can communicate. By virtue of our Canadian constitution, English and French are the common languages of this nation, and they are understood by most Canadians, regardless of their ethnicity.
4177 In the end, it should be the objective of the Canadian broadcasting system to ensure that mainstream broadcasters themselves produce programming that reflects the whole spectrum of ethnocultural communities irrespective of language.
4178 In the same vein, the terms multilingual and multicultural are not analogous. We do not mean to imply disrespect for minority ethnocultural groups who want to maintain and protect their linguistic and cultural heritage. We also recognize the important role that broadcasting can play in this regard, as well as in informing the daily lives of members from minority cultural communities.
4179 However, we do believe that there is a corresponding need to share traditions, beliefs and values cross-culturally.
4180 Multiculturalism suggests both the fostering of cultural heritages, including language, and the building of cross-cultural understanding. This should be the primary function of a multicultural television station.
4181 Multiculturalism implies and demands that we be able to communicate with one another. Too often ethno-specific programming fails to do this, because unless it is captioned or subtitled it is inaccessible to francophone or anglophone viewers or speakers of other languages, for that matter.
4182 It also contributes to ghettoization. Ethno-specific or third language programming is not multicultural programming. It is exclusionary by its very nature, not inclusive.
4183 Third language programming should result in cross-cultural liaison, not segregation.
4184 As I noted earlier, in an ideal world a multicultural mandate would be a given in our Canadian broadcasting system. Programming by all broadcasters, whether mainstream or ethno-specific, would be inclusive of all people who make up the communities they serve.
4185 We don't believe there should be a juxtaposition of Canadian versus multicultural programming. They are one and the same. To imply otherwise is to reinforce a misconception that minority ethno-cultural communities operate in the margins and are not part of our citizenry, or that ethnicity belongs only to non-French or non-English immigrants.
4186 By its very nature, Canada is multicultural. Multiculturalism embraces all native, founding and other immigrant nations. We have observed the unfortunate tendency of ethno-specific programming towards ethnocentrism and parochialism.
4187 Therefore, we support broadcasting endeavours that strive to create opportunities for Vancouver and B.C. to be reflected to the rest of Canada. Conversely, we encourage programming that would allow cultural communities with a small population base in Vancouver to benefit from programming from their community in other parts of Canada where they may be more numerous and influential.
4188 Television plays such an important role in the development of identity that when it ignores, under-represents or misrepresents minority cultures this contributes to their sense of alienation and their marginalization.
4189 Programming should respect and reflect the equality and dignity of all Canadians.
4190 We highlight the distinction between third language broadcasting that informs newcomers and facilitates their integration and foreign third language programming. In our view, programming should facilitate integration in meaningful civic participation in all aspects of Canadian life.
4191 If third language is to be offered, there should be a priority placed on the domestic production of ethnocultural services that transmit Canadian values and that speak to the experiences and circumstances of immigrants as they settle in their new country and community.
4192 The cross-cultural mandate of the Canadian broadcasting system cannot be achieved in an environment that promotes the segregation of the cultural communities from one another and from the mainstream. As much as possible, third language programming should be subtitled. This measure would at least increase access to the programming by viewers across cultures.
4193 We strongly urge the CRTC to consider the needs of small cultural communities. Multicultural programming should not cater simply to the large ethnocultural communities. It should reach out to the smaller communities with fewer resources to compete for air time.
4194 In other words, multicultural programming should not be here just to meet the demographics of the society. It should be here to reflect and project the entire spectrum of cultural communities, including the smaller, resource-poor cultural communities.
4195 What hope do the Sudanese, Ethiopian, Caribbean or Latin American communities have to see themselves, their cultural traditions and practices and their contributions to the development of our Canadian identity respectfully represented on our broadcasting system?
4196 Before I conclude, I would like to highlight areas of concern and need.
4197 First, what our communities need is quality, culturally diverse programming that reflects us to one another. We need distinctive programming that is produced locally and that focuses on local news, arts, entertainment and social affairs; programming that encourages cross-cultural understanding and interaction; programming that is fair and balanced.
4198 We also need to encourage, as much as possible, the exchange of ethno-specific programming across the nation in order to ensure that our broadcasting system includes small, as well as large, geographically situated cultural communities.
4199 We need a commitment on the part of the broadcaster itself to produce this culturally diverse programming and not merely to provide air time to various cultural communities who then have to scrounge around to gather necessary production resources.
4200 We need a high standard of technical quality in programming.
4201 In addition, we believe that licensees should demonstrate a serious commitment to employment equity at all levels of their organization, on and off the air. All programming should contribute to respectful and positive portrayals of cultural groups, and this is best achieved when equity hiring practices are applied and the multicultural nature of Canadian society is reflected on the air and behind the scenes.
4202 Corporate philosophy and structure should reflect a commitment to multiculturalism, anti racism and employment equity, including seeking and developing talent from the multicultural communities.
4203 Finally, we support the notion of a local community advisory board to monitor content and suggest improvements.
4204 Thank you for this opportunity to speak and for your recognition of the importance of Vancouver having a multicultural channel that will inform and unite its diverse communities.
4206 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Merci, Madame. So that we don't need subtitles we will speak English, because we have no interpreters with us today.
4207 Thank you for your intervention and this morning adding to it, especially in your conclusions. I will not pretend that I have understood all the fine distinctions you make about ethno programming and cultural programming. I am not too good at that.
4208 But one thing I understand is your kind of raising the bar in a way, so that broadcasters do reflect better the diversity in Canada, but especially here in this market where it is very...
--- Technical difficulties / Problèmes techniques
4209 ...first generation and second and third generation in all the groups. We had a discussion yesterday with somebody representing the Punjab community, and they gave some indications for South Asia. But we were wondering about the Chinese.
4210 Maybe you have some more information on other groups that would be helpful to us in understanding. There was a discussion with one of the applicants yesterday about the approach should be different or not from Toronto, depending on the targets, the audiences we are trying to reach: to what type of generation are we addressing ourselves.
4211 MS ALLARD-STRUTT: I think what I would present is a somewhat different perspective. I can give you, as an example, this anecdote from a colleague of mine who is a first generation immigrant from the Caribbean.
4212 His teenage daughter is considering moving to Toronto. She is completely disillusioned about her cultural environment here, because the minority culture is a small cultural community, and they are not reflected in popular cultural products. She feels alienated and is considering moving across the country to join a larger community.
4213 That is why we are making the suggestion that demographics alone should not be the deciding factor about which communities are represented in broadcasting.
4214 The smaller communities, the Guyanese, the Caribbeans, the Latin Americans, may not have the large population base, but their needs are the same as they come here and try to integrate and try to make sense of their new community.
4215 We do support third language programming that facilitates integration of new immigrants. But at some point we have to acknowledge that we need to speak a common language. That is when we probably would draw the line and say that unless the third language programming works to fostering cross-cultural understanding then we would question its usefulness in this context.
4216 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Except for the kind of service that can be provided for first generation in order to help them come into this country and really be able to establish a dialogue with the community they live in, would you say that what you see is much more than conventional broadcasting? It should be like the integrator?
4217 MS ALLARD-STRUTT: Yes.
4218 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Are you at this point supportive of a cross-cultural station or would you rather go -- and I am not saying that the formula that is in front of us is any better. But it is the principle.
4219 Do you feel, with what you observe and what you know of the communities here, that a stronger presence within the conventional broadcasting system is much more what the Vancouver market would need at this point in its development?
4220 MS ALLARD-STRUTT: I believe that in an ideal world the conventional broadcaster should reflect all cultural communities. This is not happening. This is a big disappointment. And certainly as a stop-gap measure we would support a truly multicultural channel, but a channel, a station whose priority is reflecting cultural communities to one another, small and large, and increasing understanding across cultures.
4221 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: There is one project in front of us that is, by definition, cross-cultural and is trying to address that kind of approach more.
4222 Have you read the application?
4223 MS ALLARD-STRUTT: Yes, I have. We support that principle.
4224 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: You do. Okay. Thank you.
4225 Commissioner Grauer.
4226 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Going back to the Chair's first question, which is one that we have been asking a number of people who have been before us, it is to get an understanding. I take your point of your friend who is from the Caribbean because we have such a small, I think -- but I would need to confirm it -- community here, and the Toronto one is larger.
4227 I think what we were trying to really understand are the differences in both the patterns of immigration and the immigrant groups between here and Toronto.
4228 It is my experience -- and correct me if I am wrong, because you know more than I do -- that our immigration here came much later and is from Asia and the Pacific Rim countries largely. So it is a different pattern of immigration.
4229 Whereas in Toronto, because it is the easiest example, there were a lot of much earlier immigrants from Europe and then from the Caribbean. So you have a more advanced, if I can call it that, more generations have existed there as opposed to here.
4230 Am I accurate?
4231 MS ALLARD-STRUTT: Yes, that is a very fair representation. But the argument that I am presenting is that regardless of the pattern of immigration, small cultural communities should not be invisible.
4232 And that actually can be addressed with the sharing of programming across the country.
4233 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: My point -- and our question was not related to your thesis but rather so that we can better understand the community. We take your point with respect to small communities.
4234 Thank you.
4235 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Commissioner Wylie.
4236 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Ms Allard- Strutt, your approach seems to me quite intellectual, and I would be interested to hear your comment about the fact that this Commission, as it goes around the country, has heard the need for multicultural programming in radio and television and specialty services, as well as the need, which I quite understand, of proper representation in the mainstream.
4237 We also hear very passionate pleas for programming in third languages where the lonesome grandmother or the recent Korean student can see the vistas of her native country, hear its sounds, its music. And what appears to be ghettoization to us may be a salve on the soul and the emotional welfare of that person.
4238 You seem to say that programming should inform newcomers and facilitate their integration, and that is what third language programming should be.
4239 What about the salve on the soul? Do we not owe a certain help in the broadcasting system to the passionate approach of the newcomer, for whom we can establish an intellectual approach, but we don't feel what the Chinese grandmother feels, or the Korean student who is lost in Toronto feels, or a young person feels.
4240 Do you not think that that is also of value?
4241 MS ALLARD-STRUTT: Yes, I do and that is why I prefaced my presentation by outlining the mandate of my Society, which is not strictly the preservation of distinct cultural heritages but the sharing of these cultures.
4242 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So you would say that it is also -- from your presentation and reading your intervention, I understand the one part but the other part is not as important. And I am glad to hear -- because I am sure you hear the people who appear before us. They are quite passionate about the need for simply entertainment programming that makes them feel at home in their heart for a particular moment.
4243 MS ALLARD-STRUTT: We recognize the value, but we would like that programming to also be accessible to speakers of other languages.
4244 Also, there is the question of: Should this programming be on basic cable service?
4245 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes. But some of it may simply be music that is foreign to us, dancing that we don't understand but that is very important to the grandmother and the student I am speaking of. But I am sure in the association you work with you must get this passion as well. Or is it just exposed to us?
4246 MS ALLARD-STRUTT: No. We do get it, and we respect it and we recognize its value.
4247 What I am here to speak to today is the need for integration and cross-cultural communication.
4248 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Thank you very much.
4249 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you.
4250 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor today is the Capital Region Race Relations Association. For the record, Madam Chairperson, Larry Wartels will not be with us today, but Joan Russow will present in his place.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4251 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good morning and welcome. I saw that you were nodding at Mrs. Wylie.
4252 MS DHILLON: Good morning. My name is Harrinder Dhillon from the Capital Region Race Relations Association. I will be making a joint presentation with Joan Russow, a member of the Victoria Community Coalition Against Racism.
4253 Joining us is Imtiaz Popat, an independent producer, who is working with co-operative radio.
4254 We appreciate this opportunity to speak to the Commission this morning about two letters of support that we submitted to the CRTC Commission, one for CHUM and the other for CFMT.
4255 We are here to support both applications, based on conditions and expansion of services. Vancouver Islanders need both a locally established alternative media station such as CHUM and full access to CFMT's multicultural and multilingual programming through a local Victoria broadcast station.
4256 Our support for CHUM is conditional based on their expressed undertaking to be committed to and to demonstrate cultural diversity best practices in their hiring, in their programming, in creating diverse work sites, and implementing racism free policies.
4257 We support the proposal by CHUM to have a weekly program on First Nations issues and see this as an indication of their willingness to reach out to the community and to be inclusive.
4258 To ensure that this commitment is acted upon, the CRTC should place a conditional clause on their licence. We would also expect CHUM to be proactive in the areas of progressive race relations, competencies, which would include the following six items:
4259 (1) providing non-sensationalistic coverage of racism related issues;
4260 (2) ensuring that mass media reflects ethnic interests;
4261 (3) counteracting the stereotyping of people of colour in relation to violence, drugs, sex and crime;
4262 (4) making available international news via a wide range of local ethnic voices;
4263 (5) avoiding tokenism, exoticism, and moving beyond the three D's, the dance, dine and dress, in providing ethnic programming that is not glossy and exoticized;
4264 (6) seeking the ethno-cultural communities reflected in the professions and in the topics and the actual media community, if you will.
4265 The next point is that high profile topics should be explored on an ongoing basis, with both people of colour and the mainstream communities on issues, very controversial issues, such as First Nations land claims, hate crimes, asylum seekers versus economic refugees, employment equity versus quota systems, hate speech versus free speech, et cetera.
4266 We suggest that CHUM set up a public race relations resource team to measure and analyze the potential impact on the communities of any controversial race related issue.
4267 Finally, CHUM should provide access to the media for relevant community social justice issues through investigative journalism, current affairs, news and documentary format.
4268 We fully support the CFMT's application because we believe that multicultural and multilingual programming is an essential part of the Canadian fabric, not only for the ethnic communities but also for the mainstream communities.
4269 We resonate with LMTV's slogan "more voices, more choices". We recognize that without CFMT's multicultural and multilingual programming over the years that the issues of the ethno-cultural communities would have been further marginalized.
4270 We support the way LMTV has consulted with various communities and has a record for high quality programming and that contributes to a positive portrayal of ethno-cultural groups of all ages.
4271 The emphasis on presenting issues and news in different languages about Canada has helped expand the presence of the ethnocultural community in Canada.
4272 In addition, we want to support LMTV's concept of giving access to students of diverse cultural backgrounds in the area of studying television broadcasting. I hear that they are putting this through a scholarship program with BCIT.
4273 We stress the importance of LMTV's undertaking to air 60 per cent of its programming in various languages and to produce the majority of the programs locally. Vancouver Islanders have been under-served in this capacity and this broadcasting would be invaluable to those who feel isolated because of inaccessibility.
4274 We also acknowledge the importance of LMTV's undertaking to have 50 per cent Canadian content, with most of it being produced in B.C. We expect that to be supplemented with documentaries and coverage on important social justice issues affecting both ethnocultural and mainstream communities.
4275 In conclusion, we see these two applications as being complementary, and the combination of the two with the conditions and suggestions that we have proposed would begin to serve the needs and interests of communities on both the Lower Mainland and the Island.
4276 Thank you.
4277 MS RUSSOW: I am Joan Russow. I am with Victoria's Coalition Against Racism.
4278 Not only would multicultural, multilingual programming fulfil a need in the community, it would also discharge an obligation that the federal government has incurred under the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
4279 Under Article 7 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, state parties undertake to adopt immediate and effective measures, particularly in the fields of teaching, education, cultural and information, with a view to combatting prejudices which lead to racial discrimination, and to promoting understanding, tolerance and friendship among nations and racial or ethnic groups, as well as to propagating the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Declaration of Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
4280 This places a positive duty on the Canadian government and its institutions to combat prejudice through education and information, including media broadcasting.
4281 Often it is thought that multilingual and multicultural programs are only necessary where there is an ethnic population that warrants it. A distinction could be made between multiculturalism, which caters only to the audience and varies with the composition of the community, and polyculturalism which seeks to encourage appreciation of all cultures.
4282 In the latter case it is extremely important for the mainstream community to become aware of the diversity of cultures through progressive race relations programming.
4283 In B.C. there is prejudice which often manifests itself in discrimination racism. We need look no further than the demonization of the Serbs and the dehumanizing response to the Chinese recent asylum seekers.
4284 It must be admitted that racism exists in the Vancouver and Vancouver Island area and that every effort must be made to combat prejudices and promote understanding.
4285 Often recent immigrants whose language is not English are hesitant about speaking out on issues because they are overly concerned about integrating into what they perceive to be the Canadian community and adhering to Canadian values. They must be encouraged to participate in issues that they believe to be vital regardless of the comfort zone in the mainstream community.
4286 The opportunity for the ethnocultural community to hear events through their own language is essential. By having an opportunity for them to speak in their mother tongue occasionally, when necessary, with subtitles would begin to break down barriers that have arisen as a result of linguistic discrimination. Often they are discriminated against because what they are saying does not sound right, and by allowing them to speak in their own language -- and this would also be on key news broadcasts and key documentaries, to allow them to express their own language and then to have some way of communicating through subtitles, I think would be very essential.
4287 We support LMTV's proposal for a multicultural forum -- a one-hour program in English, bringing together journalists, community business, government and academic leaders, and activists to share their views on various issues. With high profile news broadcasts we would hope that members of the ethnocultural community would have a strong opportunity to speak in their mother tongue and communicate the fundamental concerns that they have in the community.
4288 We support CHUM on condition. We would support CHUM's application if CHUM implements the condition of progressive race relation programming; if CHUM is dedicated to investigative in-depth reporting, examining vital issues in the community; if CHUM ensures that the human rights of the marginalized, disadvantaged, including the disabled, are fully respected on an ongoing way in their broadcast programming; and finally, if CHUM promoted independent sociopolitical long and short form documentaries produced in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. These have to be broadcast in prime time.
4289 If these conditions were met, we would support CHUM's application. We feel that the combination of the two would be fundamental advance in serving both the Vancouver area and the Vancouver Island area.
4290 Thank you for this opportunity to make a presentation.
4291 MR. POPAT: My name is Imtiaz Popat. I am an independent producer. I work with Vancouver's Co-op Radio and I work with Harrinder and Joan on race relations issues. I just want to add a few things which are important.
4292 As an independent producer, I am very disappointed with the lack of commitment from Canadian broadcasting on ethnic diversity. I can only compare it to the work that the CBC has not done compared to what DBC has done in England, as an example of reflecting diversity.
4293 Also, the commitment of cable carriers like Rogers when they put the current multicultural channel on an impair channel for the last 20 years is a lack of commitment.
4294 Also, when you license stations like ATN or Fairchild or TalentVision, they are put on a digital band which gives lack of access to many, many people who would like to see them at an expensive cost otherwise not affordable.
4295 If the CRTC is going to license more Canadian channels, I suggest that they should give Canadian channels a priority on the analog band over American channels, as they do currently. Channels like the Canadian Learning Channel are put on the digital over the American Learning Channel.
4296 I feel there is need for both CHUM and LMTV, as my colleagues has pointed out. Perhaps the CRTC should consider that LMTV, with CFMT, could be given a specialty channel licence that goes across Canada, like the Aboriginal Channel, which would be mandatory, because all Canada needs to be served by ethnic diversity programming.
4297 I have a few things to say that are somewhat different from what Shushma Datt had to say yesterday regarding the type of programming young people watch in this area.
4298 Thank you.
4299 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much. I would ask Commissioner Langford to address a question.
4300 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you. I am not sure we are ready to give one of the applicants a national licence today, but it is an interesting idea and certainly brought warmth to many eyes in the audience -- not all, but some.
4301 I have a question with regard to your approach. If I took my notes correctly, I think it was more focused on the CHUM application, but there may be some spillover on the Rogers application as well.
4302 What I heard was lots of -- I didn't write it all down, because I can't write and necessarily catch all the perspective. But what I heard was a call for a lot of conditions of licence, in a sense to harden their resolve.
4303 Would it be fair, before I ask you a couple of questions, to say that you essentially support the spirit behind these applications but you are little queasy about the details. The devil's in the details, and you want to hammer those down and make absolutely sure.
4304 Is that a fair 15-second precis of your position here today?
4305 MS DHILLON: I think we are looking at setting standards for the communities of colour in terms of how they are portrayed, and it is important that large corporate interests do listen to those communities, do recognize their concerns. Certainly we hear a lot of promises from a variety of different sources in the larger community, and we are concerned that unless we hold some kind of clause that these things will be forgotten. Well, good intentions are always there. So how can we engage with media groups at this point to consider these in a very serious manner, other than to have conditions of licence?
4306 You are right, we do support them in spirit, but I think at some point we need to see something concrete.
4307 MS RUSSOW: Could I add to that?
4308 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Surely.
4309 MS RUSSOW: There is a very important principle called the doctrine of legitimate expectations. And this is when institutions undertake to do something that the public has a legitimate expectation that they will fulfil their obligation.
4310 I think that is what we are saying. We do support them in spirit, but we do expect that they will deliver on their commitments and obligations.
4311 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you.
4312 MR. POPAT: I support the idea of some sort of a body that looks at if these broadcasters do meet their mandate, because there are certain commitments made by ETV per se that have not been made.
4313 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I am going to leave that one along with your national licence suggestion to another day. Certainly if anyone in Canada has any feeling that obligations of any broadcasters are not being made, we are certainly the proper body to write to and we will deal with it at that time. We just can't do it all on the one day.
4314 I would suggest something to you, if I may be so bold, and that is that what we have heard here from all of the applicants, I think it is fair to say -- and certainly our lawyer will correct me very quickly if I am wrong.
4315 But I think we have heard from them that they were willing to accept as conditions of licence everything they proposed, any commitments they made with regard to employment, program direction, specific programs even in some cases. I may be overstating it, but by and large I think it is fair to say that they have all unanimously agreed that if we want that in condition form, they will take it.
4316 We use conditions of licence very sparingly. This is going nuclear. This is the big one. And really it is all we have. It is the biggest thing in our arsenal.
4317 What I would propose is that you work with them to sharpen those conditions. I certainly -- and now I am being a little editorial; I am being a lot editorial, I suppose. I sensed a real eagerness in all our applications; not just the two that you mentioned, but in all of the applicants here to work with the communities. They all have brought on community representatives. They have all gone to the expense of getting community demographics, community surveys.
4318 There seems to me, at least on face value here, to be a lot of goodwill to work with, a lot of legitimacy. Any licence we do give would be probably a seven-year licence, certainly no longer.
4319 I would think -- and again it is a proposal that I hope you don't find in any way patronizing; it is just a proposal: that with the basis of the conditions of licence they have all agreed to, perhaps in the first licence term the way to approach this fine detail would be to work with them and then to come back to us on renewal and say: Well, either hooray, they did a great job, or half hooray -- one hip rather than hip, hip hooray -- they did a half good job. And then maybe we speak of conditions of licence.
4320 Does that strike you as a feasible approach?
4321 MS RUSSOW: I was wondering: Is there a possibility of review after a year? It seems like a long period of time to wait, for seven years. Maybe that is suggesting something that is too onerous.
4322 I think we have in some cases suggested the moving a bit beyond what they have actually written in their application. For example, when they were talking about issues in CHUM, they mentioned timber rights. Well, anyone from the environmental movement would be very concerned about issues expressed in that way, as timber rights. I don't think that is taking a hard core activist approach to the issue.
4323 We have suggested perhaps moving them along a bit further, building on a need to have social justice and activism represented in television viewing. So I would think that there would be an interesting proposal to have a review after a year. That might encourage stations to be more concerned about continuing to work on an ongoing basis with the community groups.
4324 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Of course, it may take them the first year just to get the cameras out of the wrapping boxes, and whatnot. But still, I hear what you are saying.
4325 To get back to it, though -- and it is up to you to give your proposals. I shouldn't really be making mine, I suppose. It seems to me that what I am hearing is that you are building -- you must sense goodwill in some of these applications.
4326 From what I am hearing from you, there is a lot of goodwill and now you are trying to sharpen it.
4327 It always seems to me, from my limited experience in life, that voluntary commitments are the absolute best. They may be a little tougher to get, and they are perhaps written on water sometimes; you can't quite grab them. Yet when people's hearts are in the right place it is a great starting point.
4328 I just wondered whether you really do want to push us to conditions of licence on absolutely every one of those points or whether it might be better this first time around to say: "Well, we like what we hear and there are track records out there with these corporate entities. And maybe we want to build on them and come back, perhaps in a year or two years."
4329 And that is something that you could get back in touch with the Commission and make suggestions on.
4330 I am certainly not closing -- I don't get to make this decision. There are five of us here -- and the three in red are actually the most powerful, as you can see.
--- Laughter / Rires
4331 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: There is a pecking order up here. I showed up in brown today. Imagine my surprise!
--- Laughter / Rires
4332 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: That is really all I have to say. I sense a lot of goodwill, and I just wonder whether this couldn't be one of these really healthy situations where you have newcomers to a community and you work with them.
4333 I don't want to be Pollyanic, but it seems to me there is a lot to build on here.
4334 MS RUSSOW: I think maybe what we can start with is the idea of the Public Race Relations Committee or advisory group within, so that one can look at the range of issues that we have raised. Certainly that would be a point to start off on. We can discuss that.
4335 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I can tell you from my perspective that I can see people taking notes back there. So I think the job has started.
4336 Unless there are other comments, those are all of my questions.
4337 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
4338 I'm sorry, we had an additional question from legal counsel.
4339 MS ASSHETON-SMITH: One very short question.
4340 I am wondering to what extent you are familiar with CHUM's draft corporate statement on cultural diversity best practices. I am wondering if you are familiar with that and if it responds to your concerns to any extent.
4341 MS DHILLON: I have not seen the full statement. I am aware that there is something that exists, but I have not seen it.
4342 Have you got it there with you?
4343 MS ASSHETON-SMITH: It is in the application. I just wanted to know if you had seen it.
4344 MS DHILLON: No, I haven't seen it.
4345 MS ASSHETON-SMITH: Thank you.
4346 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
4347 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor this morning is the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.
--- Pause / Pause
4348 MS VOGEL: Not seeing anyone stepping forward, I would invite the City of Nanaimo, being represented today by Ron Cantalon(ph), City Councillor.
4349 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good morning, and welcome.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4350 MR. CANTALON: Good morning and thank you very much for hearing our story today.
4351 I flew over this morning from Vancouver Island -- it was a beautiful morning -- and into the sunrise. It is a gorgeous day. I thought sometimes we feel as close to Vancouver and the rest of Canada as the 20-minute flight that it takes to get here. At other times we feel like we are flying in from Japan. I think this Commission, by its decision and wisdom, can influence greatly how we feel connected to the rest of Canada.
4352 I am kind of naive to this process. I am not in the business. But when the Council first heard about this, our immediate reaction was: What about Nanaimo?
4353 The north part of the Island is the greater half of the 700,000 residents that live on Vancouver Island, and historically, culturally and resource-wise we are probably as separated from Victoria by a rock called the Malahat as western Canada is by the Precambrian Shield from the rest of eastern Canada. If you can think of that sense of separateness, that is sort of what we feel.
4354 Victoria is traditionally the colonial seat, tourism, those sorts of things. Northern Vancouver Island has a rich maritime heritage, forestry, fishing, mining, a fabulous story that we like to tell, that we need to tell to ourselves and that we would like to share with the rest of Canada. I think we would like the opportunity to do that.
4355 So we thought: What about a station for Nanaimo? Why weren't we considered? We seem to have the population base and we are a growing community.
4356 But as Moses Znaimer from CHUM very succinctly put it to us, he said: "Ron, you are not on the ballot. You can write a letter, but that is the best you can do."
4357 So I wrote a letter and we are here in person to make our representations.
4358 That is our first recommendation to the Commission, that we be considered in the future, at the next round perhaps, for a licence. I recognize that that would require a response from the entrepreneurs in the broadcasting community, but we think we have a unique opportunity for a broadcast licence.
4359 We have suffered all the years. It is a community of 125,000 people, and we are always in the broadcast shadow of Nanaimo. So it sort of seems that we never get the opportunity to have our own say.
4360 But broadcasting and broadcasting revenues tend to follow where the stations are, so it is a chicken and egg thing. And until we have a station, you can't verify it.
4361 You have heard much today about the importance of production for local representation, and I won't go into great detail. But we do feel that we have a significantly different story and a rich opportunity to share with the rest of Canada. That requires some production opportunity in Nanaimo.
4362 We were impressed, frankly, with the interest that both CHUM and Craig had in representing themselves to Nanaimo, much better than we have been served over this hump, this Precambrian hump from Victoria, by CHEK-TV very frankly. Both seem very interested in supporting our local interests.
4363 So we are putting to you again some preconditions that we think will put perhaps some teeth in it, and that is the best we can do for now.
4364 One suggestion that we understand was made -- and it is called Vancouver Island, but I would represent to you that there are two half to Vancouver Island.
4365 One of the things that interest us and that we request that you emphasize as a pre-condition -- I don't know how steely the teeth can be in such requirements. Commissioner Langford has spoken about good intentions. Well, we respect good intentions but we hope we can be stronger than that.
4366 One of the things we would like to see is a permanent storefront bureau located in Nanaimo's downtown centre. Like many communities, we are restoring our downtown core. We have a new theatre, that you will hear from tomorrow. It has become a cultural and artistic centre. We have a richly growing cultural community there.
4367 We think a storefront bureau operation would greatly encourage and create a focal point for creating production and encouraging and facilitating that.
4368 One of the things that I think is very important -- it is a simple thing -- would be a split feed news broadcast for Nanaimo so that local news here and in other communities on the Island, not just for Nanaimo; it could be split feed for Campbell River and other up Island communities that we speak for that are not here today.
4369 I think that would be very, very helpful.
4370 Also, to provide a minimum of two hours of local programming during prime time that highlights the arts and culture.
4371 Our history is coal mining. In Nanaimo it is a fabulous, fabulous story. The forestry and fishing, the pioneer logging that occurred in Nanaimo is a fabulous and rich heritage; the Japanese fishing culture that brought the trolling and fishing industry to Vancouver. It is quite a unique story, and I think a wealth of material for broadcasting.
4372 Part of what was suggested by CHUM, again to support this, was a $50,000 commitment to support a Vancouver Island film commissioner in Victoria.
4373 I would represent to the Board that we are half, more than half of the population up Island. And fair is fair: if $50,000 is a willing commitment to Victoria, the same commitment should be made to the Upper Island.
4374 You heard Mr. Egan and others indicate how important local production is. But if local production doesn't have a focus, doesn't have a co-ordinator, doesn't have somebody knowledgeable in the business to sort of generate and facilitate these activities, they are not going to happen in my opinion, from what little I know of the broadcasting.
4375 So I would encourage you to tag that as a precondition on the licence.
4376 In my brief political career, I have learned that the reception to my speeches are proportionate to their brevity. I thank you for hearing me, and I will hear any questions that you have.
4377 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much. I would ask Commissioner Cram to ask the questions, please.
4378 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you, Mr. Cantalon.
4379 I actually was under the impression that Nanaimo was now an island. I heard that some American publicist talked about Diana Krall being from the Island of Nanaimo. Have you broken away already?
4380 MR. CANTALON: No. But I have often thought that Emperor Cantalon had a nice ring to it. But I don't think we are going that far.
--- Laughter / Rires
4381 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Maybe somebody should be informed in the American publicity wing for Ms Krall.
4382 Are you here today for the City or for the Chamber of Commerce, or both?
4383 MR. CANTALON: I am here for the City, but I know that the Chamber parallels our request. We support a new facility on Vancouver Island. We don't differentiate between the two, being political, and we are not choosing. We have been encouraged by the enthusiastic representations that both parties have made.
4384 COMMISSIONER CRAM: If I talk about the upper half of the Island, and you say there is Campbell River, did you say, or --
4385 MR. CANTALON: Campbell River, Courtenay, Parksville. Nanaimo is basically now evolving as a greater community that is expanding from Duncan virtually to Courtenay. We have a new transportation link as sort of a mini super highway, like the 401, so it is now possible to go from Duncan to Courtenay, 120 miles, within an hour and a half.
4386 But Victoria is still over the hill and into the valley, kind of thing.
4387 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Would I take it that the more bureaus in the God's country of the "Island of Nanaimo", the better?
4388 MR. CANTALON: Absolutely.
4389 COMMISSIONER CRAM: If there were a bureau in Campbell River, you would be happier still, if there were a third bureau in the northern half of the Island.
4390 MR. CANTALON: That's right. I will be shot by all the cities I neglect; but certainly geographically, Nanaimo and Campbell River are the two focal points.
4391 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Does Nanaimo have an Economic Development Committee?
4392 MR. CANTALON: Yes, we do.
4393 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I, too, am a neophyte to broadcasting, and I was appalled and shocked to find out the costs of production of television programming.
4394 Would it be possible, if indeed the good people of Nanaimo would like to see themselves reflected on television, that there might be some effort made at joining with producers to develop this kind of programming?
4395 MR. CANTALON: Absolutely there would be. And I think we have many historical venues, besides the natural beauty, that offer a great opportunity for production settings. But we would be more than willing to help co-ordinate that.
4396 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you very much for coming. I encourage you to work with the producers.
4397 MR. CANTALON: Thank you for hearing us.
4398 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Commissioner Langford has a question.
4399 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I just want the record to show that when this intervenor described Victoria as "over the hill", we understood that he was speaking geographically and not metaphorically.
4400 MR. CANTALON: Certainly.
4401 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
4402 We will now pause for coffee. We will be back in 15 minutes.
--- Recess at 1000 / Suspension à 1000
--- Upon resuming at 1030 / Reprise à 1030
4403 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Welcome back.
4404 Madam Secretary, please.
4405 MS VOGEL: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
--- Technical difficulties / Problèmes techniques
4406 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor this morning is the Sierra Club of British Columbia.
--- Pause / Pause
4407 MS VOGEL: At this point I would like to re-call intervenors from yesterday afternoon and this morning.
4408 I would like to call Kumar Sikka, Intervenor No. 5.
4409 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good morning and welcome.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4410 MR. SIKKA: Good morning. My name Kumar Sikka. I own my own business, and I am the past president of the India Club, which is a charitable organization in Vancouver for over 30 years. I immigrated to Canada about 29 years ago.
4411 I am opposed to the application by Rogers media for a licence to operate a multilingual station CFMT-TV in the Lower Mainland.
4412 The South Asian community is comprised of nearly one-quarter of a million people speaking Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, Bengali, Urdu, as well as other languages.
4413 Rogers Media is offering, besides repeat broadcasts, one hour of Punjabi, half an hour of Tamil, and one hour of Hindi programming each week. Also allotted are two hours, Saturdays and Sundays each week, for Indian movies.
4414 I firmly believe that:
4415 1. There is not enough time allotted for a quarter of a million people on a channel that is known as a multilingual channel.
4416 2. There are a fair amount of Gujarati-speaking families and there is no mention of any type of Gujarati language programming.
4417 3. Indian movies are three hours or more, not including any advertisement. How is Roger Media going to accommodate a three-hour movie into a two-hour slot and be able to add some commercials as well?
4418 4. The proposed programming is primarily in English, which does not serve the interests of new immigrants and seniors.
4419 5. Local interests, concerns, difficulties and achievements of new immigrants, seniors and South Asian families cannot be addressed if programming is produced in Toronto, as Rogers Media is proposing.
4420 6. When METV applied for a licence, the station had promised to do a number of things, including establishing news bureaus in several Lower Mainland ethnic communities. METV has broken those promises, and there has been no action taken against the station. How can we be sure that Rogers will not abandon their proposed programming in the future?
4421 The past performance of Rogers' multicultural channel has not been worth much praise. There used to be three to four hours of continuous South Asian programming containing entertainment, news, information and achievements of the local community. The family used to look forward to sitting together and watching such quality programs.
4422 The Rogers Media management has changed the format into half-hour slots with low quality, repetitive programs. Basically all we are getting are a few clippings from some Indian movie songs.
4423 This move has proved very divisive for the Indian community by making about 11 different producers have to fight for the media market share. Maybe this was the intent of Rogers Media.
4424 My question to the Rogers Media system is: Was there any consultation or opinion of the South Asian community taken before changing the original format? If not, how can the management assure us that they won't do the same thing with the multilingual channel in the future?
4425 Thank you for listening to me.
4426 MS BHUI: Good morning. My name is Nalini Bhui. I am an occupational therapist and am currently in a management position. I have lived in Canada for 17 years and worked in various professional positions during that period of time.
4427 I also am a past director of the India Club.
4428 I want to clearly state at the outset that I am here purely on a personal representation as a community. There is no hidden agenda. There is no body to protect. I am just coming as an objective viewer of these programs, and what I would like to see and what my views are personally as to the podium that a program for the different communities should present.
4429 Basically, the factors that adversely or conversely affect the quality of programs is of great concern to me. The programs have to fulfil several needs in the community. I know you must have gone through this several times, but I feel that some of the basics are fairly important. I will draw some examples later on. So please bear with me.
4430 Is there any objective accountability -- I am just throwing the questions out right at the beginning.
4431 Is there any objective accountability? And what are the consequences of the licences be revoked should the presentations not stand up to scrutiny? In what kind of time frame and what kind of frequency will this scrutiny occur? Is there an objective body? Are there objective guidelines set so that there is no corruption in that process, so that no one with a hidden agenda can dip into the pot or create a disturbance or any such problem?
4432 To mind, what we are doing right now is we are setting the pace for the future generations. What we present here can -- what better podium can we have than this, and what better opportunity can we have to initiate and promote positive behaviours, positive achievements?
4433 We have lots of media coverage in North America that presents negative aspects of life in general and gory specifics, which we have all been through. What I would like to know --
4434 The way I remember my culture -- and because I am an authority only to speak on my culture, since I am so familiar with it, I think I will just stick to that. So please bear with me on that account as well.
4435 What I remember of my culture is grandparents, seniors who never say die. What can we make of this? How can we make this better? All the moral values. A lot of all that I feel is lacking in society today. A little bit is eroded by the education system. A little bit is eroded by essential advances in technology, I guess -- the computer age, alienization, all this sort of stuff which causes lack of socialization.
4436 In previous years we had stress release. Man is a social being. He likes to be loved. His achievements should be recognized. Then he feels good. Good endorphins are released. He turns to do more good.
4437 This part of it can be achieved by multicultural programming, to a great extent in an easier way. I do believe that a lot of the violence is an outlet for this frustration, this anger, that normally occurs in a human being that does not feel cared for, does not feel that society at large is interested.
4438 With the programming that we had in the past, I know that there were certain awards, such as the India Club scholarship awards, the Triple A awards. I don't know if you are familiar with it. That was a podium for the youngsters who achieved incredibly high, whether it was in the academic field or in the athletic field. They achieved beyond reason. And this didn't come overnight. It was long years for parents and kids. So the whole family unit had to support this child, and then this child bloomed.
4439 So these programs were a podium for that kid. Now, not only did his family watch and feel proud; the community at large watched and felt proud. He or she was given a voice. They were recognized that yes, your achievement was good and this is more of what we would like to see. The youngsters in the community watched this. That was their role model. Not only that, but their peers, whether they were white, black, blue, brown, whatever, they watched their friends and they got feedback from them.
4440 This itself caused peer integration in a very nice, social, non-invasive way. And that is desirable. Anything that can bring about cohesive in various communities in such an easy manner I think should be recognized and should be given a podium.
4441 When it is presented with a song and a dance in the foreground, you know, clips of something here and there, and this is just used as a fill, the message that we are giving this individual is: Your achievements are not so important. They are okay. We will put you up on TV to make you look good, but it is not as if you really want to know and you really care that this is the achievement. Your community is so proud of you. This is not a feedback coming back to the child.
4442 So the whole purpose of just presentation of this is lost. The essence of the presentation is lost.
4443 There are other parts of it. In the current period of programming, I am not exactly sure as to what level or stage of discussions this is at. I am really not sure about that.
4444 But if this was a probation period for Rogers -- you know, in any job we have to have a probation period. If this was a probation period, in their lack of understanding of the cultural richness of the various Asian communities doesn't seem to be presented.
4445 If you are going à la Hollywood style, if you are just going into the half-hour time slots, the quality programs, the excellent programs don't come in those kinds of time frames. Any of the really good Pakistani serials, the Hindi serials, the Rami Anhabarta(ph) -- which are famous epics. This was presented in past years on TV. My children watched it and I think the TV in this case did a better job than I did of bringing them to understand and correlate what they saw into the positive aspects of it, and of course some of the negative aspects of the story, of how you should avoid that. And it gave them strategies to incorporate and use the positive aspects, like unity.
4446 These are all not things that can be taught in a day. But when it is presented to children, to adults, these were presented for comprehensive audiences. It didn't segregate them with age or ability, or whatever.
4447 That quality, I think, is lost because these serials are mainly an hour, two hours, three hours in time frame. And as mentioned by Mr. Sikka, even the Hindi movies.
4448 If you are going to fragment this, one argument could be: Well, we are going to fragment these and put them in parts 1, 2, 3 and 4. Fragmentation beyond a certain reason loses the essence of the program, and then it does not fare for all that work that has been put in. Your whole point in making this program is lost, and you really don't want that.
4449 Having thrown all this, I feel that in the final analysis, I also want to know that there is no preclusion of veteran producers, of truly knowledgeable people in the community -- and there is a lot of corruption that can go on as soon as there is power. It is not just with this channel. It is with life, as we see.
4450 Since you are setting the base, I would like to see as much as those cracks can be taken away right now so your foundation is strong. That is why I am trying to help out with my thoughts on this basis.
4451 A truly comprehensive program in general broad terms, to me, seems that there should be true education. We could pick the aspects of education and use this podium, then events and views. We like to see local events. There are lots of Asians all over the country. I don't know how you are going to make it proportionate, or whatever.
4452 However, you know, in the evening, at the end of the day, we like to see our local news. What happened last night at the hockey game is very important to me. So what happened last night at the Triple A Club Awards. Who won this? That is important to us.
4453 If we were to go with it, then the local events seem to be of importance.
4454 News and views; true entertainment, not someone just taking clips. Anyone can go to a video store and pick up clips of movies here and there and stick it. A monkey could do it. You just stick it together and just present it and call it entertainment. That is not true entertainment.
4455 What would you think of when you hear the name Bill Cosby? He is the epitome of humour. He is the king of comedy. It is quality. And that is what comes immediately to the forefront of our minds.
4456 I really, really sincerely hope, because we have so much richness in all these cultures, that you are able to tap on that and somehow -- I am not sure how you are going to do this. Maybe you already have plans for this; I don't know. But I feel that that is something that should be addressed.
4457 MS VOGEL: Ms Bhui, we are well past your ten minutes. Could you wrap up, please.
4458 MS BHUI: Certainly.
4459 MS VOGEL: Thank you.
4460 MS BHUI: So to sum up, I would like to ask: Does the producer go above and beyond the call of duty? If that is the kind of producers we want, if that is the kind of shows that we want, then we need to think a little differently than what Rogers has presented thus far.
4461 Thank you.
4462 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
4463 I would ask Commissioner Langford to ask questions.
4464 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: There is a lot of passion here, and that is always a good thing.
4465 I want to be clear on something. I almost feel like I heard two distinct presentations here. Are you both opposing the Rogers application, or do we have one opposition and one -- I am just not sure what I heard.
4466 MR. SIKKA: With past experience what I have seen from Rogers is either they have to change what they are producing, or I am not in favour of giving them another channel which is going to do the same thing.
4467 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: That was clear.
4468 Ms Bhui, where are you on this?
4469 MS BHUI: From what I have seen thus far, I think Rogers has done an inadequate job in its probation period. That is what I am saying.
4470 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Are you opposing it?
4471 MS BHUI: At this point, yes.
4472 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Sorry to sound simplistic. I just want to make sure that we are both singing from the same hymn sheet.
4473 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: You are not singing with the same --
4474 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Not we in the sense of this; but that the two of you are singing from the same hymn sheet. When you speak about power corrupting, I am fine with Cardinal Newman because I have none; I have no position; I have no power; I have no red jacket. I am just here.
--- Laughter / Rires
4475 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: You have a red tie.
4476 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I am a little worried about Bill Cosby being the king of comedy, and I am working on that.
4477 Let's get serious for a moment.
4478 How about this -- and again, I am not an advocate of Rogers, but we have an opposition of Rogers, but yet I get a sense, hearing your last comments, that there may be something to build on.
4479 Is another approach possible, that you could work with that application? Or are you basically saying it is so flawed that we don't even want to work with it?
4480 I am hearing things, I think, like: "I don't like the way they have done half-hour time slots. That won't do." And then I see Mr. Sole make a note in his book.
4481 And then I hear you saying: "Two hours won't work for an Indian film." That is not the first time we have heard that in this room. "We need at least three." And I see Mr. Sole make a note in his book.
4482 I am not advocating for that application in any way, but it seems to me that we have a choice here: that you have to choose between a dynamic perhaps, possible dynamic, the hope of a dynamic, or say: "No, this application as it stands is so flawed that we would rather throw it out and start again."
4483 I would just like to be clear what you are telling us this morning.
4484 MR. SIKKA: Do you want me to answer it?
4485 What Rogers has done, it clearly shows that either they are doing it deliberately to some motive or they have no idea about Indian culture. I am not against unless they improve on it and give us some quality things than what they are giving us.
4486 I want to know what was their intention of doing all they have done. Did they consult anybody or just for some reason -- I don't belong to any group. I am just a viewer, the way I used to watch, and the way now I am watching, I don't know when is the program coming. There is nothing set.
4487 I find all the producers -- as Ms Bhui said, anybody can make the program that we are getting now. Even I can do it. I can go to a video store, rent ten movies, put them together, and there is my program. There is no quality. There is no substance. There is nothing we can as a family sit together and watch. There is no information. There is nothing for the shut-ins. There is nothing at all.
4488 Why did they do it? Somebody has to explain.
4489 MS BHUI: If I may add, I feel a little concerned that if so much happened without the actual awareness of a lot of the thinking people in this group, how much more can be just shoved through?
4490 I like to be proactive always in life, not reactive. So I say scrap it for now; find an objective group and put it together. I have no vested interest. It doesn't matter to me whether Rogers is at the helm or somebody else is at the helm, because I am certainly not interested in that job.
4491 I think the process has to be better than this. If this is all they can come up with as a process -- and they think it is a valid process. As Mr. Sikka said, they really don't have an understanding, I don't think, of the cultural richness that they are trying to present.
4492 They are trying to do a Mickey Mouse job of making it look very good in optics. It is a little shallow for my liking.
4493 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you.
4494 MR. SIKKA: Could I just add a little bit. If the licence has to be given, can it be conditional for say two years, three years. If they don't fulfil what they said they will do and break their promises, then it should be for reassessment.
4495 I can live with that.
4496 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much. That is very clear.
4497 MS BHUI: Do you have any guidelines thus far? The CRTC has to regulate everything before it goes on. Am I correct or am I wrong in that?
4498 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Well, we can't do "CRTC 101". And I am not sure that I am the right person to do it anyway. We don't program.
4499 Generally licensees come to us with proposals, as the applicants here have. We try, through the use of conditions of licence and understanding, to hammer out between them and us, usually through our legal team, as clear an understanding as possible. And then over the licence period they are judged on how they live with that.
4500 But we certainly don't pop by the offices every week or two to see how they are programming.
4501 On top of that, we put out general policy statements -- for example, we recently released an ethnic policy statement; we have a television policy statement -- which overlay the whole process and say: Hey, industry, take a look at this. This is the direction that we think Parliament, through the Broadcasting Act, would like you to be going.
4502 So we have some big general tools and specific tools at licensing and relicensing time. But we just can't go down there and say: "Sorry, sport, a half an hour on Thursday isn't enough." We look at that at the end of the licence term.
4503 One final thing. If there are complaints, of course, we look at complaints, specific complaints. But we don't pop around to their offices every month or two and sit in on the programming meetings.
4504 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Commissioner Grauer has a question.
4505 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I just want to make sure I understand. The existing Rogers multicultural channel which is here now -- and Commissioner Wylie will straighten me out if I am wrong -- is the only one that exists I think in the country as it is.
4506 Are your comments primarily with respect to the changes that have occurred on that service and not with respect to the application that has been filed for the new service?
4507 In other words, have you looked at the new service? Are your issues primarily about the changes made to the existing, or are they having looked at the schedule for the new, which is quite a different over the air service?
4508 MS BHUI: I can't say that I am an expert at it, and it seems inadequate -- that is what I am saying -- to fulfil the needs. That is all I am saying.
4509 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: The proposal or the existing?
4510 MS BHUI: Yes.
4511 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: They are two separate things.
4512 MS BHUI: The proposal.
4513 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: You are talking about the proposal; okay.
4514 MS BHUI: Is this a multilingual licence or is this a multicultural licence? Isn't there a little distinction because multicultural is more comprehensive? Or am I wrong?
4515 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Well, we are not quite good on the semantics on that topic. There is a distinction. What we understand is you have views on the existing channel that is run here.
4516 Madam Vogel is the Secretary for this hearing, but usually her function within the Commission is the Regional Director for the CRTC. She could provide you with the proper information of "CRTC 101", and also about our ethnic policy, and also about ways to make sure your voice is heard.
4517 You were saying that it is important to be proactive. Well, there are ways. The cable industry has organized itself with a board where they hear complaints, and before you get to that level there is certainly a possibility of establishing a dialogue with the Rogers company.
4518 Madam Vogel could help you out with that after the hearing.
4519 MS DHUI: Thank you. And I am not an expert, so I hope you are taking the veterans in the field. You make me nervous now.
4520 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Not at all.
4521 MS DHUI: I am just a poor subject off the street.
4522 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: What we tried to clarify is what we have done. It is important that we understand. Of course, the people who have applications have full understanding of the ways of the Commission, but we want to hear. That is why we are here in Vancouver; otherwise, we could have stayed in Ottawa. The very reason we are here is to hear people like you and all the other intervenors.
4523 The more things are repeated with different tones about it and passion about it, the more it helps our understanding of the people here, the needs, and it helps in our decision-making process.
4524 Thank you for having participated.
4525 MS DHUI: Thank you.
4526 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Madam Secretary.
4527 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor this morning is the Directors Guild of Canada. Please come forward.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4528 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good morning.
4529 MR. HAWKINS: Good morning. Thank you very much for your time.
4530 My name is Crawford Hawkins. I am here representing The Directors Guild of Canada and the B.C. District Council. I am a member of the National Executive of the Guild and chair of the B.C. District Council.
4531 At the national level, the Guild has 2,800 members drawn from all areas of production, direction, design and editing of films and television programs. The B.C. District Council is one of the most active of the Guild's seven district councils, with over 870 members.
4532 Mr. Paul Audley, who is here with me today, is a consultant who has assisted the Guild in drafting its submission to this hearing.
4533 The Guild's intervention addresses the applications of Rogers, CHUM, Craig and Trinity for Victoria and Vancouver licences. In developing the Guild's position on the applications for the new conventional television station licences that are now before the Commission, the Guild began by examining the decision announced just over three years ago when the CIVT was licensed. We know that the following concerns expressed by the Commission in explaining the reasons for its 1997 decision:
4534 First, while the Commission was satisfied at the time that the market could support a single new entrant, caution was expressed about the market's ability to support new entrants without duly affecting the ability of existing privately owned stations to provide high quality service.
4535 A general caution expressed by the Commission is shared by the Guild. In our written presentation we have expressed our concern that over-licensing is primarily a threat to priority programming, and in particular to Canadian drama, which is usually the first victim of financial constraints.
4536 Second, the Commission acknowledged the clear demand among Vancouver Island residents for a new local service and expressed its agreement that there is a need for such a service, although it was concluded at that time that the CanWest application then before the Commission did not meet that need.
4537 Third, in redirecting the CanWest application, the Commission expressed strong concern over the possible licensing of two English-language television stations under common ownership, whose services would be broadly available in the Vancouver extended market.
4538 Despite the exception, represented by CHAN and CHEK, the Commission emphasized that it was an exception, expressing concern that approval of CanWest's application would convert the policy exception in to a virtual rule. This concern is one that the Guild shares and to which we have attached weight in assessing the current applications.
4539 Finally, in its 1997 decision the Commission gave particular attention to the need to encourage contributions to the production and scheduling of Canadian drama, music and variety programming, as well as to the growth of a strong independent production industry in all regions of Canada.
4540 Not surprisingly, these concerns have been central to the Guild's analysis of the existing applications. We urge the Commission to again give particular attention to these objectives in reaching its decision.
4541 These concerns identified by the Commission and shared by the Guild provide the framework within which we assess the current applications. The Guild believes that the licensing of mainstream English-language stations in both Vancouver and Victoria would result in over-licensing, with substantially resulting damage to the ability of all broadcasters in the market to contribute to the financing and exhibition of priority Canadian programming, and in particular drama programming.
4542 The result would be that three new mainstream stations would have to be added to the extended Vancouver market in only three or four years. On this basis, the Guild has focused its attention on which of the Victoria applications should be approved.
4543 The Guild recognizes that CHUM's Victoria application reflects the fact that CHUM has also applied for a Vancouver licence. Both the revenues and the proposed Canadian programming expenditures of CHUM's Victoria application reflect the fact that CHUM has also applied for a Vancouver licence. Nevertheless, our analysis must focus on the two Victoria applications as filed.
4544 The Guild has concluded, on the basis of reviewing the two Victoria applications, that Craig should be licensed. The Craig application is superior in its proposed expenditure on Canadian programming; $74.7 million compared with $39.9 million. It is also superior to the CHUM application in support of B.C. based drama and long form documentaries: $11 million compared to the unspecified part of $6 million in the CHUM application.
4545 The Guild supported the earlier Craig applications for licence in Calgary and Edmonton in large measure because of the A-Channel drama fund that was proposed. Since 1997, when the Alberta stations began broadcasting, they have delivered on most of those commitments: approval for projects supported through the Alberta fund is given entirely in western Canada.
4546 Based on commitments now offered in its Victoria application and the performance in Alberta, the Guild supports the Craig application for Victoria, provided that the explicit expenditures commitments it is offered, including its specific commitments to B.C. production, are made a condition of its licence.
4547 While the Guild does not support the licensing of CHUM's Vancouver application, we recognize the commitment to Canadian feature film production that is part of that application. However, the Guild notes that additional benefits that are comparable may still be achieved by the Commission through the process that has now begun that involves both CHAN and CKVU stations in Vancouver.
4548 The Guild also expressed conditional support for the Rogers application for the ethnic station in Vancouver. However, the Guild submits notes that the Rogers application is less problematic to the extent that it would not compete directly with the mainstream English language stations in the market.
4549 The Guild supports the licensing of the Rogers station as long as the Commission is satisfied that it would not affect the ability of either of the other stations in the extended Vancouver market to contribute to the financing and exhibition of Canadian programming and of priority Canadian programming in particular.
4550 Rogers has offered to earmark $1 million to script and concept development and marketing for independently produced B.C. documentaries and $3.5 million to the licensing of B.C. produced documentaries.
4551 If Rogers is licensed, these expenditure commitments should be made conditions of licence, along with the requirements that no licence fee top-up from the Canadian Television Fund be counted as though they were expenditures of that station.
4552 Thank you very much. We would be glad to answer any questions you may have.
4553 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good morning. I would like to understand or have a clearer understanding. Certainly I can see that in the Vancouver Island application you are supportive of the Craig application. But what is your view about the capacity of the market?
4554 You are saying that one of the areas where you can immediately see financial problems occurring for broadcasters is their capacity of being involved in drama series or drama initiatives.
4555 From your experience and from your members, do you see that there is a healthy situation from your point of view here in the market, and that there would be no harm in adding a broadcasting undertaking?
4556 What is your view on that?
4557 MR. HAWKINS: Well, it our view that the licence for the Island would not interfere with the current programming in the area.
4558 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Where in Vancouver it would. You don't make a distinction on the fact that advertising revenues could be drawn from the same market, given that it is considered to be the same extended market commercially?
4559 MR. HAWKINS: Given correct programming, I think that that would not happen. I think it would bring additional revenues to the marketplace.
4560 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you. In your proposal -- you haven't talked about it today but in your written intervention you made specific recommendations that the commitments, expenditure commitments, should not account for the top-off fees.
4561 Do you care to comment on this?
4562 MR. AUDLEY: Yes. The concern there is that licence fee top-ups provided through the Canadian Television Fund should not be treated as though they were expenditures by the broadcaster. In other words, this should be the broadcaster's money that is being committed, as part of meeting the Commission's expenditure requirement, and not the broadcaster's money plus the licence fee top-up.
4563 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: So it should be strictly their in-house production, the money that is required or the rights they are buying, or the development that they are providing for projects.
4564 MR. AUDLEY: The only expenditures they should be allowed to count are expenditures of their own funds and not their own funds plus the licence fee top-up from the Canadian Television Fund.
4565 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Not the value.
4566 MR. AUDLEY: Yes.
4567 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: You know that in the TV policy the Commission has kind of taken some distance from the expenditures and is not really using that any more in the renewal of licences. But in a proceeding like this one, where we are considering granting a licence, I gather it is your view that we should have condition of licence on specific expenditures for a program.
4568 MR. AUDLEY: That is the strong view.
4569 MR. HAWKINS: Yes, that is the strong view by the Guild.
4570 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Do you wish to comment on the specifics and how the accountability of those commitments could be done over the licence period? Do you have any views on that?
4571 MR. AUDLEY: I think the extent of the Guild's concern is that there should be a specific expenditure requirement for Canadian programming generally and that there should be a specific expenditure requirement for B.C. production in the priority categories.
4572 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Have you been following the hearing since Monday? Have you heard about the exchange we have had with the applicants?
4573 MR. HAWKINS: No, we haven't.
4574 MR. AUDLEY: Only to the extent of reading the newspapers. Sorry, we haven't been able to be here.
4575 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: I was wondering if you had any further comment from what you may have heard. Although certainly what is in the papers is accurate, it is not the same as being here.
4576 Thank you very much for being here today and your intervention.
4577 MR. HAWKINS: Thank you.
4578 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Madam Secretary.
4579 MS VOGEL: Next, I would like to call KCTV & Production Inc.
--- Pause / Pause
4580 MS VOGEL: This intervenor will be re-called at the end of the interventions.
4581 I would like to call Vancouver Media Directors Council.
--- Pause / Pause
4582 MS VOGEL: Not seeing any movement, I would like to call Grater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.
--- Pause / Pause
4583 MS VOGEL: Our Intervenor No. 20 is Trevor Chan and Michael Johal.
4584 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Before we get into the first intervenor of the supporting intervenors, I would like to make a clarification on how we will proceed.
4585 We will be asking questions to the intervenors only if we need really to clarify or if there is some distinction between what has been filed and what is said, the idea being that we want to give air time to the intervenors and to as many as possible. We want to take all the time to be listeners and not questioners.
4586 As I say, if there is a need for clarification, we will not hesitate. But please don't be upset if we are not engaging in a dialogue. The purpose is to hear as many of you as possible.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4587 MR. JOHAL: Commissioners, hello, bonjour. Thank you for this opportunity to speak before you in support of the application by CHUM Television Vancouver.
4588 In trying to assess or go through the various applications I was looking for something that would help one of the applicants stand out. There is an awful lot being promised by all the applicants, and like you, I have to go through it and sift through it and try to find outstanding features.
4589 There is plenty of research and statistics and videos and presenters, and so on and so forth, and the one thing that stood out for me, not so much here but previously when I attended some of the information sessions that some of the applicants were putting on, was the point in CHUM Television's presentation when Moses Znaimer referred to mainstream. He proposed a redefinition of mainstream that resonated with me greatly.
4590 He proposed that rather than CHUM Television appealing to ethnic minorities, or multilingual or multicultural minorities that exist somewhere on the fringes, in fact we are now a part of the mainstream. And it is a nuance or a subtlety in defining somebody's approach to their so-called multilingual programming that really resonated with me and that I think is very important.
4591 I don't feel that I exist on the fringes of Canadian society. I do feel I am indeed a part of the mainstream. And when somebody makes that definition, challenges us to redefine such a key concept as mainstream, it speaks volumes to me about their mindset, that applicant's mindset, their entire approach to the notion of appealing to and reflecting and including so-called minorities in Canada in their programming.
4592 What that tells me about CHUM Television Vancouver's approach to programming with these communities, including these communities, is that it is a mindset; it is a way of being; it is not just a slogan. It is not just something that needs to be presented because it is the flavour of the month: we have to now appeal to the ethnic minorities.
4593 I am going beyond that definition that I heard that day that resonated with me very, very deeply.
4594 I came to Canada in the mid-1980s and was sort of weaned on a couple of the channels, in particular MuchMusic that the CHUM group has had since the mid-1980s, I believe. What I saw there was dynamic, vital programming. I saw CHUM doing there stuff that nobody asked them to do, in terms of including people from so-called minority communities, long before it was ever in vogue, long before it ever became a slogan to present before commissions -- look, this is what we are doing, long before it was ever politically correct.
4595 And that again resonated with me. I was younger in those days, and even to this day my 14 and 15-year-old cousins are watching that channel, and Citytv, channels that are already doing what some of the applicants are now promising to do. The others all sort of shift their platforms a little bit to try to coast on the coat tails of that.
4596 And that, I feel, is partly what has happened in broadcasting, not just in Vancouver with, to a minor extent, VTV, but in the Canadian broadcasting landscape as a whole, where the CHUM imitators are now a dime a dozen and everybody has shifted to do what CHUM has been doing in terms of interesting dynamic programming and including so-called minorities. Everybody has shifted to include that. And to that extent, I think CHUM has raised the bar.
4597 These are the main points that I wanted to make, and I can elaborate on some of these if you so wish. Thank you.
4598 MR. CHAN: Hi there. My name is Trevor Chan. I am a marketing analyst and a strategist for an Internet company called GlobalMedia. I am here today in support of the CHUM application. I have a couple of points here that I would like to make.
4599 First of all, I am in new media. My interest in all of this is that we are out to destroy television; we are out to destroy radio; we are out to destroy print media. We are creating the new medium. That is what we are doing.
4600 We have a saying in new media, and it is called "content is king". What this basically means is it is not about going out there and aggregating content, buying content, buying syndicated programming and reprocessing and broadcasting it, but going out there and creating something new.
4601 That is what I think CHUM can do.
4602 The most important thing, the most valuable thing we can have in a media culture is creating relevant programming to your audience. You've got to go out there; you've got to know who your audience is. You've got to know who you are programming to. That is what really matters.
4603 When you look at mergers between AOL and TimeWarner, there is a lot of stuff going on at the high end. All of these big companies are merging together. If you are only out there rebroadcasting stuff, you are going to be out sooner or later.
4604 I look at CHUM and I see what they are doing, and it is a little bit different. They are not like Rogers or the CanWests of the world. They are BCTV, you know what I mean, whose main interests is like buying syndication rights for the top U.S. programs. CHUM is out there creating something new that is relevant to people like me, to the youth demographic, and that's what it is all about.
4605 If you look at the Internet right now, and it has completely taken over television as the new pervasive medium. Look at the kids right now. What is the first thing they do when they come home? They don't turn on the TV. They are on the net. They're surfing. They're looking for new stuff, right? That's what it is about.
4606 I look at some of my cousins and some of the younger people out there, the first thing they do when they go home is they go on Asian Avenue. It's a site for Asians. The reason why they go on that particular site is because it's got events and things. It's got reviews about music, reviews about movies and stuff like that.
4607 This is all the type of information that should be broadcast on television. But these kids can't find out there because it is not relating to them because they are young and multicultural; they are doing whatever. They jump on the net because that's the place they can find it, and that's the place they will go looking for it.
4608 I am looking at all this craziness that has been going on. I am a dot-com kid. I'm part of all that. I've got options in my company, whatever.
4609 Anyways, there is a big shift in the media landscape right now, and I don't want to see Vancouver lose out on this. I don't want to see all the media companies being bought out by some big faceless corporation. I want to see a media company being developed in Vancouver that addresses the youth demographic, that knows the city and can do stuff. I think CHUM can do it.
4610 I have personally been raised on CHUM programming. I've watched MuchMusic all my life. I've watched Citytv. Even when ICRAVE(ph) was still around, I watched it on the Internet, because it's cool. I'm into that. They are producing something that really connects with me. It's not about dictating or saying I've got a certain percentage of Asian programming, I've got a certain percentage of Caribbean programming, I've got a certain percentage of Latin programming. That is not what it is about.
4611 Multicultural is a given in this country, do you know what I mean? And that's what it is about, right? It's not from the top management on down, and that's reflected in their programming. And that's what I want to see. It really connects with me.
4612 My final point is this. I am a 27-year-old Chinese-Canadian male. I was born and raised in Vancouver, so I have seen all the crap that has come out here. And to this day, I feel I got a raw deal because there is no media outlet that represents my point of view. You know, I look at newspapers. Ah, who cares, man. I look at radio. It sucks too. And TV, don't get me started about TV.
4613 I jump straight to the net because I know I'm going to find niche programming that is geared towards me.
4614 Like I said, I've seen CHUM's work in the past. They've got Bravo!, Showcase, all that good stuff, right? You know, I think they can really make a difference here. That is why I am supporting their application today. That's about it.
4615 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: And regulators are cool, right?
4616 MR. CHAN: I know you don't have a red jacket, but hey!
4617 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: We are dot.com kind of regulators.
4618 Thank you very much to both of you.
4619 Madam Secretary, please.
4620 MS VOGEL: I would now like to call Crisanta Sampang, Planet Aaj Radio; Baljit Deo and Michael Sunnar.
4621 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good morning.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4622 MS DEO: I am Director and co-founder of Planet Aaj Radio, and I am intervening on behalf of CHUM Television Vancouver. I am not really here today as a broadcaster. I am more here as a young Canadian person who lives in Vancouver and puts on my TV and can't find anything to watch.
4623 I will just tell you a little bit about my company so you know what kind of background we come from.
4624 We have a very grassroots company. We have served the community for close to three years and broadcast programming for the second and the third generation with music and views that are culturally diverse. We have enjoyed enormous success in the last three years, going from only two hours a week to seven hours a day.
4625 We actually relate that directly to the fact that we are producing programming that is culturally diverse and that there is such a shortage of it in Vancouver. This is on radio, so it is not even touching TV. If I was to look at television, there's nothing. There is absolutely nothing, not even half an hour of TV on our screens right now that is culturally diverse.
4626 There is so-called multicultural programming, but it doesn't relate to us. I speak to people every single day and it's the same thing. We get the same thing, that there's nothing on TV that is relating to us. It might relate to our grandparents, to their generation. It is third language programming that is brought in from another country that often we have no clue about whatsoever. It doesn't relate to our lives in Vancouver.
4627 What we think is that we need a channel that is as culturally diverse as the society that we live in and that promotes positive discussion in the community.
4628 The face of Vancouver has changed a lot. It is a rich mosaic of people from all over the world, with great traditions. And it saddens me that despite all the promises of ETV, of a bright future, despite the misguided efforts of Rogers Multicultural Channel, there is still nothing on our screens that truly depicts the face of Vancouver.
4629 There is no longer any such thing as an ethnic minority in Vancouver. In a few short years the so-called ethnic minority will actually be the majority.
4630 We are the new mainstream, and I am saying that before I actually heard Moses say it. I didn't know that he had said that.
4631 When are the broadcasters in B.C. going to realize that? When block programming has the emphasis on it, it only serves to perpetuate the myth that we are different without fostering any form of understanding of each other. And moreover, it firmly stunts any bridge building that could take place.
4632 We have different experiences, granted. We have different cultural histories. We are not different. As second and third generation Canadians, first and foremost we are the face of the new mainstream in Vancouver. I invite every program director in Vancouver to take a long, hard look, because we are here, growing in numbers every day, and we are here to stay.
4633 How long do we have to be here? How many do we have to be before it is deemed time for us to be served in a fair and balanced manner?
4634 This new mainstream is Canadian first and deserves representation 24 hours a day. We don't need more blocks of totally unrelated programming. We deserve more than token time slots that no one except, like I said, our grandmothers can relate to. We need a station that sees Vancouver for what it is and believes in fostering and supporting a culturally rich, dynamic, progressive and diverse community. We need a station that can do for Vancouver what Citytv did for Toronto.
4635 Vancouver is often referred to as a giant melting pot, which isn't really quite true. The ingredients are definitely there, but we have to put them in the same pot and give them the same attention in order for there to be any real melting. That is not an easy task. It takes imagination.
4636 And imagination, unfortunately, from what I have seen so far in Vancouver on TV, is in short supply.
4637 In closing, I would just like to say this. Vancouver needs a station with eyes and ears that see and hear what the people want and need, a station that has faith in the credo that cultural diversity is the only way forward. It needs a station that believes in local talent and puts its money where its mouth is. It needs a station that has integrity and the philosophy to build bridges between the traditional mainstream and the new mainstream -- a station with imagination.
4638 Quite simply, Vancouver needs CHUM Television Vancouver. Thank you.
4639 MS SAMPANG: Wow! I think she just said everything I wanted to say. I am a Filipino-Canadian. I have been here for several years. I am also a journalist. I have a lot of vested interest in what I see on television and on other media.
4640 As a member of the ethnic and so-called visible minority, I feel that I am invisible when I watch television. Imagine surfing 72 channels and seeing nothing at prime time. You only see the ethnic minorities in Vancouver when there are really just brawls, illegal immigrants and drug wheeling and dealing on the east side, and I think that is not a fair reflection of the ethnic community in Vancouver. There is so much more, so much deeper stories that we can tell.
4641 There are achievers. There are stories of love and loss. There are stories of successes, and there is so much culture in Vancouver that is not being seen on TV or in the papers today. We have so-called local content, but it also contains white faces.
4642 I have nothing against white faces on TV, because they are here and are part of the population mix in Vancouver. But I also want to see something that is coloured, that has an accent, that has culture in it.
4643 I am here in support of CHUM Television because after extensive research I have seen their ten-point plan, and based on their track record in the past I feel that CHUM television can do what they have committed to do.
4644 As a current student of documentary and film making, I am most interested in what they plan to do in British Columbia. They have committed to put in $18 million and $25 million more in creating, in funding Vancouver-made movies and documentaries. I feel that that is a very good idea.
4645 Vancouver is the third largest movie production centre in North American, next to Los Angeles and New York. Americans come here and hire Vancouver film makers to do their own films, and they spend millions, billions of dollars in Vancouver.
4646 I say if we are good enough for American film makers, then we are good enough for Canadian television.
4647 I feel that if CHUM TV can do that, fund television film makers, I say give them a chance. Give them a platform to air these Vancouver-made films and documentaries and let the ethnic communities be heard and seen nationwide and in Vancouver itself.
4648 Thank you.
4649 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much for your interventions.
4650 Madam Secretary.
4651 MS VOGEL: Next, I would like to call Baljit Sangra, Eagle Eye Films; Loretta Todd, Endless Entertainment Inc.; and Andrew Ooi.
4652 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: I would like to remind everybody of a rule. When there are two or three intervenors appearing together, they have to share the same ten minutes. Thank you.
4653 MS VOGEL: Go ahead whenever you are ready.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4654 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good morning.
4655 MR. OOI: Hi. My name is Andrew Ooi. Thank you for listening to us today. I am here in support of CHUM Limited's application for a new TV station in Vancouver.
4656 Just a little bit about myself.
4657 I came to Vancouver nine years ago and became a citizen about three years ago. I was a med student, decided not to go to med school, and started up a company Echelon Talent Management, which is now the largest Asian-based talent agency in Canada. We have an office here and one in Toronto, and we represent mostly Asian actors.
4658 A fair number of them are actually very well known in Asia, which is great. And some of them are living here now too.
4659 I also run and am co-owner, senior Vice-President of Acquisitions and Finance of Endless Entertainment Inc., a newly formed film production company whose mandate is to produce commercially viable and entertaining product.
4660 Last year our first credit was "I Know What You Screamed Last Semester", a spoof of all these horror movies that Lionsgate just bought and will be coming out some time this summer.
4661 A number of my fellow intervenors will be talking about various issues, but I just want to cover two things that are very important to me right now: the way Asians are reflected in mainstream television, as you call it today, in Vancouver and Canada.
4662 Promises were made in previous applications. I have actually spoken on four of the applications before, in 1997. Unfortunately, some of those promises were not met.
4663 A case in point. I don't see ourselves being reflected in TV today. Given we are on the news. I think about 50 per cent of newscasters are Asian these days, which is really weird. I know broadcasters are trying to do something, but it is not the news I am just talking about. It is things that people watch in general, like dramatic series, comedies, and you see very, very few Asians in them.
4664 Two TV series come to mind, "Cold Squad" and "Da Vinci's Inquest". Given they are very, very high quality and have won a number of awards, but I see very few Asian faces there, especially in the leading characters. They are all white.
4665 I have nothing against white people, as one of the other intervenors has said. My partner is white, for that matter. I have lived all over the world, and in London, everywhere. And I have nothing against you. I love you guys.
--- Laughter / Rires
4666 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: And you like grandmothers. Right?
4667 MR. OOI: I love them too. You see, I am wearing red.
4668 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: She was getting a little worried the last time around.
4669 MR. OOI: The point is that we are getting type cast. I run a talent agency and I see the breakdowns that come in: the Punjabi taxi driver, the Chinese laundromat worker, the Asian female prostitute. It is so common. It is so tired.
4670 One of my clients is here with me today. He is a very good friend of mine. In three years, he has only been asked to audition for "Cold Squad" once. He appears as a guest star on series, regular roles, leading in a film that is coming out that I am producing shortly.
4671 The role that he was asked to read for was the Asian transvestite male prostitute. I am not joking. I am very serious about this. There seems to be very little being done about it. I would really appreciate if something could be done about that.
4672 I think what CHUM is advocating, what CHUM is talking about -- I have listened to their pitches, because I was very, very cynical this time around. I listened to their pitches, and I really believe in them. I believe in what they are saying.
4673 The second thing I want to talk about is subtitling. They are talking about subtitling their news.
4674 I come from Singapore where a lot of the programs are subtitled. I grew up with subtitles. I think subtitling actually helped bring the communities together. Singapore is made up of Malays, Chinese, largely Chinese, Tamils, East Indians and we all get together. It is in large part because we can understand each other's cultures. The subtitling really helped.
4675 I can watch an East Indian film. I grew up watching East Indian films where they were dancing around the trees, singing songs. I loved it. I grew up watching Malay films, horror films, and these were great, great stories. And I am glad to see that CHUM is finally -- and Bravo! They are showing Asian programs, Asian films, and that really warms my heart.
4676 The other night I turned on the TV and there was "Judo" from China. Another night it was "Scent of Green Papaya". I thought cool. I really enjoy this. I really wish that this could be more reflected in Vancouver today. As previously said, Vancouver is such a big melting pot. There are more than 800,000 Asian people here, in a population of 3.1 million. That is one quarter, but we don't see that reflected at all.
4677 I guess that is all I have to say for today. Please approve them. Thank you.
4678 MS SANGRA: Good afternoon. My name is Baljit. I am here in support of the CHUM application. You might have to excuse me; I am a bit nervous. So I might make a few pauses.
4679 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: So are we, so join the group -- especially now that we see that we are in the generation that is not dot.com.
4680 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: And if you think you are nervous, look at me up here.
4681 MS SANGRA: I am a film maker. I have made some documentaries and short films. I graduated from film school several years ago, and to pay the rent I work in the film industry. I have been involved in the South Asian art scene for quite a while, since my university days.
4682 I am second generation Canadian. I was born and raised in Vancouver. So I think I bring many perspectives, as a film maker, as a South Asian artist, and a Vancouverite who has been a surveyor of the TV scene, being born here.
4683 The key issues that stand out for me regarding CHUM's application are CHUM's commitment to feature film and independent programming and their commitment to ethnic and cultural diversity programming.
4684 As a young South Asian film director and someone who has worked in the industry, I am really excited about their commitment for local long form and serial drama. I recognize that there is a real lack of opportunity for independent productions in the Vancouver television market.
4685 I went to film school at UBC and I studied film. My parents were not too pleased about that choice. They kind of mapped out computer science and med school and a few other things for me, but I chose film school, with a dream to direct a feature film and reflect my experience, my story, what I know.
4686 I think it is really important that we support Canadian films, in development, financing, publicity, and of course showing it, exhibiting it. I have only had cable on and off a couple of times, and now I pay a couple of extra dollars and I have Bravo! and Showcase, and I have seen probably the most Canadian films I have ever seen before.
4687 And CBC, of course, plays Canadian films. It has been quite an education for myself.
4688 CHUM is the largest private broadcaster/player in the Canadian feature film market.
4689 The other evening I was at Cineworks, which is a non-profit film organization downtown, and I was talking with film makers who are doing their independent works. I told them that I am coming here today, and they wanted to know why I am coming here, what interests compelled me to be here.
4690 I told them a bit, that CHUM is putting a lot of money towards film, and they have pre-licensed 17 films and of that 17 ten are from new directors and producers. And the group that I was speaking with was quite excited about that.
4691 I said: Out of the ten, five are from B.C.
4692 Now, if they put $18 million towards B.C. produced films and television, that is amazing. I can see light at the end of the tunnel, that there is hope. And there will be a diversity of stories out there.
4693 I have another story. A while ago I ran into a friend of mine, Reg. He just premiered his feature film, his first feature, at the Vancouver Film Festival. We were chatting and I said: "How did you get the funding for this film?" And he said: "I got the script together and I was down at the Toronto Film Festival; I got in and talked to somebody at Citytv and I got some development money quite quickly."
4694 He was able to get his funding. And this is his first film. So that was very encouraging.
4695 Then when I looked at the application and I looked at all the films that they have supported with pre-licence agreements, I knew about at least four of them. So that gives me hope as well.
4696 The other point I wanted to talk about is CHUM's commitment toward cultural programming.
4697 I was born and raised in Vancouver, and I have only travelled much of Canada. So I feel pretty disappointed in what I have been seeing on television.
4698 It is not very accessible. I have grown up with some multicultural programming through Rogers, and that is pretty low production quality, traditional. It doesn't speak to me. It is dramas that are set in Pakistan, and I have no idea what they are about or songs, music videos. There is not a lot of money put into it.
4699 At one point there was some interesting programming that Ashushmat(ph) put on, where she had youth voices but apparently that got cut. So that was quite disappointing.
4700 As a second generation Canadian, I think that what is out there doesn't speak to us at all.
4701 MS VOGEL: Ms Sangra, we are past our ten minutes. Could you wrap up, please.
4702 MS SANGRA: My apologies. What can I say? I am a South Asian, a film maker. And in looking at the applications, I think only CHUM really stands out in delivering on those two things. I have to echo what Michael said. They are tried and true, and I give them my support.
4703 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: We have not heard you and we would like to hear from you.
4704 MS TODD: Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you today.
4705 In the past I have watched the CRTC hearings, which I hope doesn't say more about my social life than my social conscience.
4706 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: No. It says that you are maybe an insomniac. From time to time we see ourselves too, when we have one of those nights.
4707 MS TODD: But I do take to heart public policy when it comes to media in Canada, and I do take that to heart as an aboriginal person, because what happens on TV affects our lives every day on the streets.
4708 As an aboriginal person, it is as important to me to have a native show on TV as it is that there be an overall policy that fosters understanding of aboriginal society. So it is not just the aboriginal program that is important; it is the overall vision of the broadcaster that is important to me.
4709 Let me tell you a little story. Recently I produced and directed a biography of the late Chief Dan George for "Life and Times" on the CBC, which was a very good experience, I must tell you.
4710 In the process of making that documentary, I was fortunate enough to go into the archives of the CBC here in Vancouver. I looked at some of the work from the fifties and the sixties and the seventies. I was amazed at the energy and the creativity and the risk taking and the excitement that was in those archives: the stories that were being told, the way they were being told, the joy of image-making, of story-telling.
4711 I looked around Canada and I would say that within the CBC that spirit still exists, to some extent. Sure, all of us would like to see that spirit restored within the CBC, because I think the CBC is still an important institution within Canada. But I looked around Canada, at the other private broadcasters, and I said: "Where else does that spirit exist?"
4712 That spirit exists within the CHUM family, within the CHUM system. That love of innovation, that unabashed belief in genius, that willingness to take chances, to look differently at the world. That is what exists on the CHUM system.
4713 As an innovator myself, as somebody who is interested in telling stories in a new way, from my perspective, I want to go to a place where I feel that spirit would be recognized and that spirit would be enhanced and fostered.
4714 To me, the CHUM system is a system that has demonstrated it does that. It does that in its programming through all its system, and I feel that it will also do that here within its proposal, both within Victoria and Vancouver.
4715 What is exciting to me -- because also, as a community worker, someone who hasn't just made films, but someone who has worked within the film making community to develop film makers, Vancouver is a community full of creativity. It is bursting at the seams. It is full of knowledge and experience. It is bursting at the seams. It wants to get out and be able to express that spirit.
4716 I have a feeling that to some extent when you hear resistance to the CHUM system, what you are really hearing resistance to is to change to the status quo; that people want to maintain things as they are. We really are the face. We are the face of new broadcasting in Canada. I think that is the face that is going to create the dynamic programming that is going to go across the world, not just within our own homes.
4717 From the point of view of the news, I have to say a quick point.
4718 As an aboriginal person, I know that when the news reports negative things about who we are and stereotypes about who we are, it affects young people the next day in the school yard. It affects old ladies on the bus the next day.
4719 I think that a lot of the news broadcasting in Canada, even when they put a person of coloured face delivering the news, they still haven't really interrogated their own bias. You can talk until you are blue in the face about that bias, and they won't recognize that bias.
4720 But when you talk to CHUM, they will listen. They will listen that maybe they do have bias, and they will be willing to change. There is not that arrogance, that somehow what they say is correct.
4721 Just to wrap up, I think we are talking about social change here. We are not just talking about a new broadcaster. All my life I have tried to support social change, and I would like to bring my film making forward to help create social change. I think CHUM is the means to do that.
4722 Thank you.
4723 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
4724 We will stop for lunch now.
4725 I would like to remind everybody that although two or three at a time can come forward, it is ten minutes altogether. Otherwise, we get into a situation where we don't have the same rule for everybody, and that would create problems.
4726 I would like your co-operation. Maybe over lunch you can choose the elements that you really want to put forward, so that we can make sure that we will have the same air time for everybody.
4727 Thank you. We will be back at 2 o'clock.
--- Recess at 1200 / Suspension à 1200
--- Upon resuming at 1400 / Reprise à 1400
4728 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Welcome back. Good afternoon.
4729 Madam Secretary, will you please introduce our next intervenor.
4730 MS VOGEL: Thank you, Madam Chair.
4731 Our next intervenor this afternoon is Face to Face Media, Gary Marcuse.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
--- Technical difficulties / Problèmes techniques
4732 MR. MARCUSE: ...and you may be familiar with that. I went all over the United States tracking down this Fox Network production, which eventually wound up with Sony International. After many dozens of phone calls and also after being rebuffed at the major television networks, who simply were not interested in responding to a Canadian request, I finally got Sony International and the Office of Copyright Clearance.
4733 The Office of Copyright Clearance advised me that they didn't intend to respond to these kinds of requests because they had so many requests, and after all how could they service them all. There was kind of a spiel that went on for about ten minutes from the lawyer -- actually, from the Vice-President that I was speaking to.
4734 But at least I felt I was getting close to the source. So I asked him: Should I really want to try and have something like this cleared -- after all, I am representing all of Canada here. I felt ennobled by this. And he said: "Well, if you really wanted to get the stuff cleared for use, you could send your request to the Senior Vice-President." "Mind you", he says, "he refers everything back to me."
4735 So it was a perfect stonewalling. We got nothing out of the United States. It is very difficult for these organizations to respond. Few of them will try.
4736 But we went to CHUM, and they agreed to come in with us. And rather than charging us roughly half a million dollars for copyright clearance so that we could take the stuff into the classroom, they simply became a partner in the venture and made their material available.
4737 Even more important, they made their lawyers available to us, because we can't clear this stuff and know where it stands unless we have lawyers. And how can teachers afford those things.
4738 As a result, CHUM has been deeply involved in this. We created the first media literacy collection which you have the teacher's guide for. It tries to get across the basic concepts. But more than that, it provides media materials for use in the classroom.
4739 This became, in Canadian terms, a best seller, with more than a thousand sets circulating in the schools. It is starting to set the tone for media education.
4740 CHUM, meanwhile, went on, even though they didn't get their licence here the last time they agreed to support a media literacy centre in Toronto, which is doing national work. They continue to do this kind of work. I know they are making media literacy the cornerstone of their Victoria application, and I think we will get the same kind of participation here.
4741 For example, now that we have some media materials for use in the classroom, teachers want training. How are they supposed to deliver this stuff? How are they supposed to, themselves, get training? So now CHUM is working with us to create a website where the basic fundamentals will also be taught.
4742 Out of this there will be many spinoffs. We can now create video collections for use in the schools. CHUM is committed to doing more of this.
4743 Overall, what I see as a pattern here is a television station that has filled the missing link in this chain that has to take place before media literacy can happen. And as a public spirited media producer, it made it possible for me to work with activist teachers groups and suddenly energize a whole national network around the questions of media literacy.
4744 We have gone on to start to influence the Americans with this as well, because Canadians are about ten years ahead of the U.S. We have sold hundreds of these kits in the States, and we hope to take over the States as well.
4745 Those are my comments.
4746 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much. I don't think we have any questions.
4747 For those of you who were not here this morning, we have taken an approach where we will be hearing the intervenors. You are really the ones who have the air time this afternoon and tomorrow morning. We will ask questions only if there is a need for clarification, given your presentation today in comparison to what we have read in your written intervention.
4748 It is really a listening exercise that we are doing, to learn as much as we can so that we can have the fullest of information for the decisionmaking process.
4749 Madam Secretary.
4750 MS VOGEL: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
4751 The next intervenor this afternoon is No. 23 on the agenda, the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Victoria, with David Cheng; and The Asian Canadian Writer's Workshop, with Jim Wong-Chu.
4752 Could you come forward, please.
--- Pause / Pause
4753 MS VOGEL: Not seeing any movement --
4754 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: My colleague reminds me that we are also allowing ten minutes per intervention, whether there are two or three intervenors in the same intervention.
4755 MS. VOGEL: Thank you. We will be "gonging".
4756 We will re-call Intervenor No. 23 at a later time.
4757 I would like to invite the Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Association, Ling Chu, to come forward now.
--- Pause / Pause
4758 MS VOGEL: Again, we will have a recall of that intervenor.
4759 Would Shavick Entertainment, with James Shavick, and No Equal Entertainment Inc., with Larry Sugar, come forward, please.
4760 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: The men in black. That has been our running joke. Those who didn't wear red today is because they didn't read our memo.
4761 MR. SHAVICK: If I had known there was a dress code, I would have worn red.
4762 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Welcome.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4763 MR. SHAVICK: Hi. My name is Jim Shavick. I am the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Shavick Entertainment. Larry Sugar, who has his own company, is sitting next to me. We are friends but competitors, and this tape will probably be widely circulated as we are both sitting together today, which is unusual.
4764 Briefly, as to what we do, Larry and I represent approximately 25 to 30 per cent of the indigenous production level in this community. Together, we do numerous shows and movies. Presently between the two of us we have seven of the 25 movies or television shows -- I think it is seven -- on the DGC and IATSE production list.
4765 We are both here today to support the CHUM application. We are here for a number of reasons. We have written our own letters to you, but we wanted to elaborate on a more detailed basis.
4766 We would not be able to do what we do without strong support from the broadcasters. One of the things that gives us clout in the development area, in the area of funding, in the area of going towards other markets, Germany, America, to find partners is the money and the support we bring from Canada.
4767 And while the government plays a role, both federally and provincially, it all starts with the broadcaster.
4768 In my experience of 25 years in this country -- I started in Quebec. I made "Two Solitudes", which was the first great Canadian film. And in my experience, the broadcaster as a partnership is essential. And CHUM, through Citytv, has been the number one partner I have had and the most responsive in this country.
4769 I know you heard from the Producers Association, and I wanted to reiterate a little bit -- although I was not here -- of my feeling. And I am sure they said the same thing.
4770 A national broadcaster, especially a national broadcaster who believes in movies, which Citytv and CHUM does, is so key to what we do. Movies, among other things, allow us to tell our story. Movies, among other things, allow us to develop talent.
4771 As an example, 99 per cent of the directors who work for me are Canadians. Almost all of the crew members, with rare exception, are Canadians. The bulk of the people who work for me live and pay taxes in British Columbia. We do this with the blessings of the broadcasters.
4772 I think four years ago when you were here I didn't have to wear the glasses, but I have to put them on now.
4773 I also wanted to talk a bit about a movie that we participated in as a distributor and a funder last year. It was called "A Girl is a Girl". Christine Haebler, who is the executive producer, will be speaking later. But "A Girl is a Girl" is a unique opportunity for us to give back to the community.
4774 One of the reasons I got involved is because it was 100 per cent British Columbian film, first time director, two extraordinary producers, Christina Margellis and Christine Haebler, and a unique story for generation X. There were no outside actors. Every single actor was a British Columbia young person. There were no outside elements. It was all British Columbian.
4775 The only network in this country who would put up significant six figures was Citytv -- the only one. CBC wasn't there. For whatever reason, the other private broadcasters weren't there. And not only did they put it up, but they helped us in so many ways that are intangible, in story, in ideas.
4776 When the film was launched, it was a critical success at the Toronto Film Festival. Citytv was there to support us. It is those kinds of intertwined relationships that allow a movie like "A Girl is a Girl" -- which is a festival movie and not a commercial venture. We ourselves put up high six figures to be involved. And the chances of getting our money back are slim.
4777 It is those kinds of things that allow that movie to go forward.
4778 And before I turn it over to Larry -- and if you have any questions we would love to answer later, although you seem not to be asking too many questions.
4779 The production level in this city, as you may know, has risen dramatically. Eight years ago it was in the $200 millions; now it is in the billions.
4780 We need a strong network in this city and in this province to help us continue to grow it and to help us continue to recapture the runaway production business, which is a substantial part of the business in this town, or to make Canadian indigenous product, like "A Girl is a Girl". We need somebody like City here on an ongoing basis -- not that they are not available if we go to Toronto, or when they take their three or four times a year trip here, or we see them at a market in the States, but we need them here to talk to on a daily basis.
4781 I am going to turn it over to Larry.
4782 MR. SUGAR: Good afternoon. I don't have a great deal to add to what James said. I think the one thing he didn't talk about was the opportunities that James and I as producers have to train a great many local people in the film business.
4783 People locally joke a lot about James. James trains them first and then I take them away and pay them more. I think that does happen often.
4784 But both of us have very active training programs, and a lot of that, certainly for me, is due to the participation of CHUM. Jay Switzer and Diane committed very early on to me and to a company that I work with, Peace Arch, on a project called First Wave. Without their commitment First Wave, which is Canadian content, on which we employ I would say 99.9 per cent Canadian and local, all Canadian directors -- the only non-Canadian element is some of the scripts.
4785 This project certainly would not have happened without their participation, nor do I think a local -- well, not that I think. I know another local program that I produced called "Dead Man's Gun", which was solely produced in British Columbia, could not have been aired nationally or in British Columbia without their participation.
4786 Unlike, I think, a lot of people -- and I spoke here four years ago. I was in a totally different position than I am today in terms of the amount of product that I produce and the organizations that I am active in.
4787 The commitment that was made to production by CHUM in British Columbia was not in any manner in concert with an application for a television station. And I think that is worthy of note.
4788 Their endorsement of British Columbian producers came because of their belief in the quality of the product that we were able to deliver, not because they sought something from us other than programming.
4789 I heard that earlier today the Directors Guild, or a member of the Directors Guild, spoke -- well, I wasn't here, so I don't want to say what the person said. But certainly as a member of the Directors Guild, which I am, certainly no query had been sent out, to the best of my knowledge. That may have been an opinion of the Executive Committee but certainly not of the membership at large, because we were not pooled.
4790 I am not certain that I have anything else to add. I am very much looking forward to their being here. I certainly hope they are the ones who are endorsed.
4791 I have enjoyed the opportunities that they provide our citizens here and have found them to certainly be the most aggressive in doing that.
4792 Thank you.
4793 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much for your intervention and taking the time to come and meet us.
4794 Madam Secretary.
4795 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor is Alan Herbert, with Diane Farris Gallery. Would you come forward, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4796 MR. HERBERT: Just to allay any confusion, Ms Farris is not available here this afternoon.
4797 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: So you will have the ten minutes all for yourself.
4798 MR. HERBERT: Thank you.
4799 Madam Bertrand, Members of the Commission, good afternoon. My name is Alan Herbert, and I am appearing in support of the application by CHUM Television for a licence in Vancouver.
4800 I have been active in community issues for some 35 years, including past president of Aids Vancouver, past president of the Foundation for Immune Diseases, past chair of the Vancouver Pride Society. I spent 12 years on the city's Planning Commission, several years as its chair and vice-chair. I have been on the city's Urban Design Panel. The list is long. And I am also a former Vancouver city councillor.
4801 May I bid you welcome to Vancouver, the city, where Asian meets Europe in the Americas, a city that for the first century of its life lived at the back door of a Europe focused North America but today finds itself at the front door of an increasingly Asia focused North America.
4802 When the city Planning Commission wrote its Futures Report in 1989, those were the phrases it used to encapsulate at once the city's history, its future, and its very raison d'être.
4803 Vancouver is trans-shipment. That is at its core, its heart, its pulse. In the late 19th century the CPR developed a land-to-sea, rail-to-ship interchange. In the mid 20th Century trans-shipment was redefined by including air, and the city indeed changed the motto to read: "By sea, land and air we prosper".
4804 Now at the dawn of the 21st century Vancouver once more is redefining trans-shipment to encompass the information highway, the Internet, and even good old television. This latest iteration is but the trans-shipment of ideas.
4805 If this city, which plays so vital and important a role in the economy of the nation, is to optimize its birth right, it is critical that it possess the necessary infrastructure. If this city is to sustain its pre-eminence as a point of trans-shipment, it is necessary that the ideas people, from geeks, to philosophers, to artists, to economists, can get on the air from here. To the eyes and the ears of the nation, the continent and beyond, such access is the crack cocaine of the ideas industry, and those cities where it is obtainable are the places that will be the stars in this new age.
4806 In 1998 and 1999 the city of Vancouver's Economic Development Commission held three seminars and invited some 130 high tech CEOs to tell us about high tech: what it is and who it is.
4807 High tech employees, they told us, are urban and idiosyncratic, as likely to be at work at 2:00 a.m. as 2:00 p.m. They demand equal access to a Starbucks or to a pub. They want good housing. Rail transit is preferable, and they want recreation and entertainment opportunities to be at hand.
4808 The creative ones think outside the box and they all want to be creative. They go around the clock and they are in the streets.
4809 That sounds like CHUM Television. It fits the order. It breaks the walls of the television institution. It goes beyond the studios round the clock and indeed into the streets.
4810 CHUM Television alone, I find, seeks to be proactive, both locally in their proposal for television in this city, and nationally, possessing an inherent understanding of the nature of the on-air broadcasting segment of the infrastructure which those CEOs described to us.
4811 CHUM will actively pursue, translate and export Vancouver.
4812 In recent months, I also had the opportunity to play tour guide to CHUM. I wanted to hear their words and see their body language as we visited some of Vancouver's newest emerging urban stages.
4813 We walked through the entertainment district, the former theatre row that is now redefining itself by focusing on live entertainment and the restoration of Vancouver's once great tradition of neon.
4814 We visited the International Village, still under construction in Chinatown, to talk about Vancouver's Silk Road, and to discuss how the history of this marvellous heritage district is sacred as the capital city to the vast Chinese community that has spread throughout the Lower Mainland.
4815 We went to a small cafe in the heart of the Davie Village, where larger-than-life entertainers spill off the stage, taking performance to people gathered on the sidewalks.
4816 CHUM has stated its intent to take cameras into the city's entertainment venues, from the Orpheum to the Chan Centre, to The Stanley, to the Vancouver east side cultural community centre. Television cameras will build excitement and audience for Vancouver's theatre.
4817 Hype has been the missing ingredient. And to be crass, it's damn well time we got some.
4818 CHUM, I believe, has the taste to do exciting things in this city, from the routine to the most unusual. Vancouver's cultural scene needs the energy that television promises.
4819 I also want to make some comments about multi-ethnic broadcasting.
4820 As a former Vancouver city councillor, I learned the dynamics of the city's huge ethnic media, most significantly the Chinese media. The Chinese community currently supports four daily newspapers, three radio stations, and two Pay TV stations. And because it focuses so strongly on the Asian market, I want to add to the list the other relatively new and hardly ever mentioned Bellingham TV station, KBCB, on UHF 24.
4821 KBCB programs to the ethnic markets exclusively from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m., and has just received FCC permission to boost their power from 44,000 watts ERP to 3,300,000 watts. That station is just a power boost and a newspaper ad away from becoming a major player in multicultural TV in this town, and this town is its target.
4822 It is not a vulnerable antique like KVOS. The CRTC needs to know this, because the Americans will do the job if we don't.
4823 Despite the vibrancy of Vancouver's existing ethnic media, there are significant gaps. I want to illustrate with a couple of anecdotes.
4824 I recently had dinner with journalists from the Chinese print and electronic media. I was fascinated, frankly, by the diversity, the number of people that were there at the table. I asked them to tell me about the scope of the issues that they were addressing.
4825 The conversation moved from the conventional things you would expect on to a discussion about Quebec, separatism, federal government policy. And these reviews had heretofore been expressed in Mandarin and Cantonese, but the general market in Vancouver had not heard them.
4826 Such views are sadly, and dangerously, locked into an urban parallelism in the Lower Mainland because, as you have heard, the Chinese community, at some 350,000 people, has reached critical mass sufficient to conduct life as its own mainstream.
4827 Here is another story. A close friend of mine, Canadian born Chinese. We are about the same age. We have known each other for years. I was on the telephone with him, talking about these hearings.
4828 He interrupted me in the second sentence, in tears, literally. He was crying on the telephone. He said: You don't know what you have said. I am second generation Chinese, but I only speak English. I cannot tell you how much I want to connect with my community, but I can't.
4829 Third story. Chinese New Year, Year of the Rabbit. I was attending a celebration, sitting with my colleagues from Council, the School Board, Chinese, and with some of the business leaders from the Chinese community. I comment: "I guess everyone is going to the big party at G.M. Place tonight." The answer came back: "Our kids don't want to go. It's not Canadian. They don't want to see Hong Kong rock stars. They are going skiing, to the movies, or just staying home."
4830 The CRTC heard descriptions of where ethnic broadcasters might build bridges to address the underserved niches in the marketplace. Four areas were identified: inter-cultural, intra-cultural, generational, mainstreaming.
4831 Let me repeat the phrase I used earlier: urban parallelism. A dangerous condition in which an ethnic community achieves a critical mass capable of supporting a separate existence. This is not theory.
4832 Mention monster houses, separate schools, the tree debate. These are, and were, issues that brought Vancouver dangerously close to racism in the past ten years, and each one of these issues was nurtured by the language gulf.
4833 These four categories share one common characteristic. All can be addressed largely by the common denominator language of English. CHUM Television cites the efforts of The Vancouver Sun. This newspaper regularly translates items from the ethnic press or runs op-ed pieces from journalists whose homes are in the ethnic media. Good but not enough. We need television. It is the most powerful medium.
4834 As I am here in support of CHUM, I want to communicate that I am impressed by the fact that CHUM has identified these missing pieces. Their multi-ethnic programs are local; they are not from Toronto. Their programs contain significant English content; they are not language ghettos.
4835 One last point. The CHUM model of replicating rather than repeating programs, as is the standard network model, allows for true local television but also offers the promise of a national reach. CHUM not only develops local talent, but through its specialty channels such as MuchMusic, Bravo!, Star, et cetera, it can showcase it nationally.
4836 Local, national, two points. But there is a third benefit. By virtue of its stable of national specialty channels and via its existing reach abroad, the CHUM urban model is unique in what it can do when it combines the talent and dynamics of Toronto and Vancouver.
4837 Taken together, the nearly 8 million people of this two-city market base arguable represent the most significant cultural force in the English-speaking world outside the U.S.-U.K. cultural superpowers.
4838 The three benefits, then, from Vancouver to the Canadian broadcasting system is that CHUM alone can take Canada -- and I say this -- it can take Canada prima facie, in your face, where other broadcasters like CNN and BBC World already area. And that is to play to audiences well beyond their nation states.
4839 Madam Chair, thank you very much for the opportunity to appear in front of you. I have appreciated this opportunity, and if there are any questions I would be happy to try to answer them.
4840 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you. I don't think we have any questions.
4841 Thank you for participating in this hearing.
4842 MR. HERBERT: Thank you very much.
4843 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Madam Secretary.
4844 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor this afternoon is Granville Entertainment Group, with Blaine Culling.
4845 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good afternoon.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4846 MR. CULLING: Good afternoon to you. My name is Blaine Culling. I am with the Granville Entertainment Group.
4847 The Entertainment Group is a loosely knit group of companies centred in downtown Vancouver on Granville Street; hence the name. We have nightclubs, restaurants, a hotel, a theatre, and some pubs and bars. I have been very actively involved in re-energizing the downtown of Vancouver.
4848 Granville Street, for any of those who have been to Vancouver 10 or 20 or 30 years ago, know the history of Granville. It was the most exciting street in the city of Vancouver, then it ran down, fell on hard times, became literally the poorest street. And now in the last five years, with the help of the City Council and the Downtown Vancouver Business Association and people working as individuals, we have re-energized it.
4849 We are missing only one thing, and that is the kind of thing that Toronto has on Queen Street, with MuchMusic and Citytv. They use the media to make an area come alive and make it exciting.
4850 There are people here in Vancouver, when they go to Toronto the first thing they want to do is go down to Queen Street and go in that little corner, the Speaker's Corner, and say whatever the heck is on their mind, because they have seen it on television.
4851 That sort of thing is the kind of excitement. You watch people in the street dancing. You watch people in the windows alive. That, to me, is bringing the people and the media together. They are not like -- I won't say which ones. Well, I was on an interview at the CBC the other day, and I had to get through three different checks just to get in the building and whatnot. Then they took me back because I didn't have the right pass. It looks like a fortress.
4852 To me, today, in the year 2000, the media has to relate to the people. We don't need to be out in the suburbs with fences around it, or something. What excited me -- and I have worked for many years with Terry David Mulligan when he was here with MuchMusic in Vancouver, because I own bars and nightclubs. He is a very exciting person. He brought to me the kind of way that Citytv and I believe the CHUM affiliate here in Vancouver, if it happens, will be. It works with the people and is excited to support things. When they give their word, you can believe it.
4853 I am not here because anyone is paying me or doing anything. I came here three and a half years ago in front of the same committee -- I don't think you were all here. Oh, Madam Chair was here. I can't say anything bad now.
--- Laughter / Rires
4854 MR. CULLING: I thought at that time that you might grant them the licence, and I was so excited about it. But I guess that wasn't their time.
4855 Let me tell you something about those people. I didn't know them at the time. I met them and I believed what they said, and I came here to support them.
4856 Since that time, three and a half years, they could have said basically: Goodbye, Vancouver. You didn't treat us well. So long. We are going back to Toronto. They didn't. They kept in touch.
4857 When I talked to them -- and I don't want to say that Moses Znaimer is like maybe Douglas MacArthur or anything, but it was clearly "I shall return. I am coming back. Don't forget me and I won't forget you. I love Vancouver. I believe in Vancouver. I support Vancouver, and I am going to be back there at my first opportunity."
4858 And sure enough, they are here again today -- and hopefully this time successfully.
4859 The other thing that they do is they support talent. One of the things I have is called the Vogue Theatre. It is a beautiful theatre, built in 1932. It is a heritage building. Its acoustics are spectacular, world-class, on the same equivalent as Carnegie Hall. It is one of the most beautiful acoustic buildings ever built in North America, and it is here in Vancouver. It is exciting to showcase that building.
4860 We have had people like Sarah McLaghlan and world famous people play there and sing there and dance there, and tell us afterwards -- k.d. Lang reserved it for a whole week to put her show together and afterwards told me: "I can't believe the sound. It's spectacular in here."
4861 What really needs to be done is that needs to be used as a vehicle to be able to showcase Vancouver talent to the world. When I spoke to CHUM, that is the kind of thing they are excited to do as well. They believe that there are people in Vancouver who could be showcased to the world; that this is an opportunity and perhaps a place to do it.
4862 What I am excited about is that I hope they choose Granville Street, but wherever they choose to go they are going to energize and excite that area. They are not just here, I don't believe, just to make money and whatever. I think they are here to really and truly help our community and help people here communicate with each other.
4863 I have a friend who the other day told me that his favourite television station is in Chicago. I thought that is really sad, that you should live in Vancouver and your favourite station is in Chicago. Can't we do something here ourselves to make people believe and be excited in local television? I think this is a chance. I certainly hope you give these guys a chance. I truly believe that they will give their whole heart and energy into making Vancouver more exciting in a media way.
4864 One of the things that also comes to mind here is the fact that in Vancouver for so long we have really and truly, I think, missed the opportunity to represent ourselves nationally.
4865 In fact, someone said to me yesterday, when I was telling them that I had the privilege and the opportunity to come and talk to you today -- I won't repeat it in exactly their language, but it was basically: Oh, you are just wasting your time. They are not going to listen to you. And I said why. They said: They are from Ottawa. Why should they care about us out here? They don't care.
4866 Well, I don't believe that is true, and that is why I did come today and why I am talking to you. I know you are from Ottawa or back east -- not all of you; some of you are from here.
4867 But I believe that this is true. I believe that these people are very sincere in coming here, and I believe that they will change the face of broadcasting in Vancouver for the better. I think they will involve the community, involve the people, and I think they will give us an opportunity to create something that will shine not only in Vancouver, in British Columbia, not only in Canada, but I think in the world.
4868 I believe that in the coming years it is going to be very easy to communicate anywhere in the world, whether it is in television or Internet or what, and the kinds of things that happen here in Vancouver I think will be judged throughout the world.
4869 I am very excited about their proposals. I would like to support them, and I certainly hope that you will too.
4870 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you for your intervention. And we are not all from Ottawa.
4871 MR. CULLING: Oh good. I mean, there is nothing wrong with Ottawa.
4872 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: We believe in Canadian content too.
4873 MR. CULLING: Thank you.
4874 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: The next intervenor, please.
4875 MS ASSHETON-SMITH: Thank you. The next intervenors are Christine Haebler and Scott Smith, Intervenor No. 28.
4876 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good afternoon and welcome.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4877 MS HAEBLER: Thank you for inviting me to intervene on CHUM's behalf. My name is Christine Haebler, and I am here as a Vancouver feature film producer. I will talk exclusively about feature films because that is my field of expertise.
4878 I support this application for many reasons but specifically because of CHUM's dedication to independent Canadian cinema, their innovative and fresh contemporary approach to content, programming and marketing, and because my personal experience with the station has been extremely rewarding.
4879 Five years ago, fresh from the clutches of the American service sector, where I spent ten years in various capacities of production, I decided it was time to become a film maker instead of somebody who worked in the film business.
4880 There was very little in the way of any independent production going on in B.C., but I was given the opportunity to produce a small feature film being directed by a well-known film maker, Bruce MacDonald. It was written by a local author here in Vancouver, and the film was set in Vancouver. It was a story about a bunch of over-the-hill punk rockers trying to relive their frayed and gritty days of glory.
4881 Broadcasters from Vancouver and the west were approached. However, no one responded. It was too bold and too raw. We approached CHUM Toronto and had a deal within a week. They liked it. It was fresh, innovative, on the edge, and speaking directly to the 18-to-35 year old demographic. And nothing else had been produced like it in Canada.
4882 The film "Hard Core Logo" was an overwhelming success and earned us a handful of Geni nominations, including one for best director in film. At every step of the way we were encouraged by CHUM, and Bruce was given the freedom to express himself unencumbered by any meddling. And I was given the support I needed as a first-time film producer.
4883 The next year I had another film story set in the west about the social politics of a distinctive western suburban culture: the philosophy of the inhabitants of a community that flanked a golf course. The film was also produced in Vancouver by a new company I was associated with.
4884 The new company was actively developing a slate of very interesting films. We went to the various local and out-of-province broadcasters with our product. However, our material simply was not suitable for their viewership. It was too independent, too stylistic and too alternative. And besides that, they were not really set up for pre-licensing feature films, even though this has become a mandate for activating public funds in British Columbia.
4885 The government funding agencies were basically on board for investing in our films, but we needed that broadcast licence to close the deals.
4886 Diane Boehme from CHUM was visiting Vancouver on her quarterly visit to visit the film makers and producers here, and we had a meeting where I introduced her to the new company. We spoke about our slate of films and sent her home with an arm-load of scripts, all written by locals.
4887 Within one week I had a deal on my second film, entitled "Kitchen Party", and the company had secured a very good relationship with CHUM in Toronto, as they had pre-licensed one or two other projects the company had in development.
4888 They responded to the material, and we were in business. For the next two films, a similar story ensued but this time I didn't bother with any other broadcasters and went straight to CHUM.
4889 I don't want the speech to be about my career but to highlight CHUM's commitment and ability to put out new ideas, embrace bold ventures, and support film makers with a heart full of passion, determination and innovative and compelling stories to tell.
4890 Canadian viewers have not been traditionally great supporters of Canadian cinema, and CHUM is doing everything within their means to change that. An important component of getting a film seen is marketing and promotion, and CHUM has an innate understanding of the importance of this and also an innate understanding of the fiscal constraints many of us film makers face after the project is complete. They do everything in their power to help market projects they license. They send crews from their program MovieTelevision to come to the set and interview our actors and film makers. They air commercials and trailers we create, and also help circulate videos or anything else we create for soundtracks.
4891 I have sent many new film makers to CHUM who have come to me regarding advice about their film, of which an astonishing number have come back either to thank me, to tell me that their project had been licensed, or at least CHUM's professional employees have a policy to assess each project carefully and respond, with respect and good manners, to encourage instead of discourage emerging talent.
4892 This brings me to the subject of how CHUM conducts business. The deals are simple. They are executed with alacrity and ease. Negotiations are friendly, to the point, and fair.
4893 The independent feature film sector has grown exponentially since I started producing five years ago. A handful that we were has now become in the eyes of the rest of Canada, and in some international territories, a distinctive western vision.
4894 The talent here is evident and getting better all the time. And I believe that, for the most part, we have CHUM to thank for that.
4895 I have with me a list of films that CHUM has contributed to over the last five years: 34 feature films. And because I am familiar with all of the titles, I am struck by the overwhelming diversity of stories and themes throughout this selection.
4896 I am also struck, because half of these titles are from Vancouver film makers, and that leads me to believe that in the last five years CHUM has invested more in western Canadian film than any other broadcaster across Canada. We have been extremely fortunate that CHUM elects to send a representative out to Vancouver, as well as other cities in the west, at least four times a year to keep abreast of what it is we are up to and to offer film makers an alternative.
4897 CHUM is the only alternative in the entire country to other broadcasters that follow a more conventional framework. CHUM constantly explores risky new material, independent images and product that speaks directly to a viewership that is looking for that alternative. It broadcasts distinctive, creative, original programs that are essential components of the modern Canadian culture.
4898 I understand that the CRTC is looking for a station whose mandate it is to promote the multiculturalism of the new Vancouver, and I can think of no other station who is not only capable but willing to meet and challenge that criteria; to do it by enabling producers and creators to express and produce a variety of programming with a distinct and unique vision and to acquire quality and culturally relevant product that speaks directly to a broader generational scope of viewers.
4899 Their aim is not to ghettoize multicultural programming, but to create a foundation from which product that reflects the diversity of an ever-expanding and evolving modern multiethnic society can spring from.
4900 CHUM has already made the commitment necessary to support independent Canadian film production. And with CHUM's expenditure commitment for development, pre-licensing and production will only help the growth of British Columbia film makers and put them on a level playing field internationally. If anybody has displayed the capability of rising to the challenge of delivering us this wonderful opportunity for a new and exciting station of our own, if would be Moses Znaimer and his fantastic team at CHUM.
4901 Thank you.
4902 MR. SMITH: Hi. My name is Scott Smith. I am a 30-year-old director who lives here in Vancouver. I was raised here. I work in both episodic television and feature films, and I am here in support of the CHUM application.
4903 My background, I hold degrees in film and business administration from SFU, and I spent two years in Toronto attending the Canadian Film Centre as part of their director residence program, during which time I spent two years in Toronto and saw the impact that C-television had on the community there.
4904 After that I made a feature film called "Roller Coaster", which began with Diane Boehme, who was the first person I contacted, and continues to be the first person I contact about any new initiative, and to whom I refer everyone I know. And it ended with a very successful launch at this year's Toronto Film Festival, in which City's promotional vehicle in the way that they promote all Canadian films at the Festival was key.
4905 I am not here to talk about me or simply what CHUM has done for me. I am just one person in a population of millions, and I think that what is at stake is much bigger.
4906 I was at Whistler on the weekend. It was a sunny day. It was a beautiful day in a beautiful setting, right in our back yard. The place was crawling with Americans up for the weekend for the President's Day long weekend. For the occasion Whistler had been transformed. There was a snow sculpture of Mount Rushmore. There were staff dressed up as Jefferson, as Lincoln, as Washington, all these American presidents, and lots of jokes about the value of the American dollar.
4907 I want to know one thing, and it is: Why do we do that? Why do we trumpet and cheer and beckon the Americans with images from their own culture? Isn't that boring to them? How funny it would be for us to go down to their country and be faced with images of Gretzky and Trudeau built out of snow in order to entice us to come down.
4908 My question is this: Where was the Canadian voice? Where was the display of our interests, of our images and of our stories?
4909 This is what I believe. There are not enough people championing the Canadian voice. We make the programming because we have set up a system in which things get made. It works; things get made. We have content regulations that insist that a certain amount of programming be Canadian in nature. It works too, and we have Canadian programming on our television stations.
4910 We have an industry that promotes itself well, but within its own walls. What we don't have is a voice, or at least one that is compelling.
4911 We make our quota of feature films and television programs every and in doing so create jobs and justify the existence of the very well meaning bodies whose mandate it is to promote this. We pat each other on the back and then we go home and start working again on the next project.
4912 Meanwhile, a population of 27 million people that we live among go on with their lives, largely unaware of our existence, until some of our faces and talent and energy end up in the U.S. Why? Because the U.S. promotes its talent -- or rather, our talent.
4913 CHUM promotes talent -- yes, through Movie television and StarTV; yes, through VideoFact and BravoFact; yes, through buying and pre-licensing a significant number of feature films; and yes, by airing those films in prime time. But more importantly, CHUM promotes talent to themselves.
4914 As I have stated in my letter, CHUM is interested not only in what the audience wants to hear but also in what the artist wants to say. And to know that, as an artist, is both inspiring and empowering, and there is nothing more compelling than someone who has all of a sudden been given a voice.
4915 Thanks for listening to mine. I hope you see fit to support CHUM and, in doing so, support the idea of our collective voice.
4916 I have one more thing I would like to add. I don't want a station that doesn't make waves in the city. I want a station that, by its own actions, demands that we pay attention to our own, that we celebrate what is going on right here, right now, and we take ownership of our own identity, even if we don't know what it is yet.
4917 What could be more exciting than that journey. Thank you.
4918 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much to both of you. Thank you for participating.
4919 MS VOGEL: Madam Chair, with your leave, I would like to re-call, to see if the two intervenors in support of CHUM have arrived yet.
4920 Is the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Victoria here?
--- Pause / Pause
4921 MS VOGEL: Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Association?
4922 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: I think the Chinese Cultural Centre is here.
4923 MS VOGEL: And the Asian Canadian Writer's Workshop at the same table.
4924 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: It is the same intervenor. They are sharing ten minutes together.
4925 MS VOGEL: Yes, that is correct.
4926 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4927 MR. LEE: Madam Chair and Members of the Commission, I just want to correct one thing. It is the Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver.
4928 My name Hoy Lee and I am here to support CHUM's application for a broadcast licence.
4929 I am a third generation Canadian with a Chinese ethnic background. I have taught in the B.C. secondary school system. Also, I have served in the Canadian Army and retired as Lieutenant-Colonel.
4930 I am appearing on behalf of the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver and the Chinese-Canadian Veterans' Military Museum.
4931 I am presently a director and deputy chair of the Cultural Centre. I also chair the Military Museum Committee.
4932 Today Vancouver and British Columbia is a rapidly growing and diverse multicultural region. Even within our own predominantly large Chinese population group we have basically three spoken languages: English, Mandarin and Cantonese with many dialects. Our population group has major groups from different regions of the world. I would like to point out some of these: Southern China, with our pioneers; Hong Kong; Taiwan; Mainland China; Singapore; South Africa; and the rest of the Southeastern Asia regions.
4933 Besides regional differences, we have generational differences: cross-generation and inter-generation.
4934 Chinese in Canada and the Chinese Canadians enjoy a rich and extensive history of over 150 years in British Columbia. As an example, Quesnel Forks. Quesnel Forks was a Chinatown located in our central interior of this province. Most of us know of Chinatowns as a ghetto within a town or city.
4935 Quesnel Forks is unique because it is the only free-standing Chinatown in Canada. In its prime gold mining days, Quesnel Forks was populated with 90 to 95 per cent Chinese serving as the headquarters for all the Chinese miners.
4936 CHUM is currently helping the Chinese Cultural Centre by arranging to have on loan and displayed in our museum the oldest Chinese wooden sign from Quesnel Forks.
4937 The Cultural Centre has started a project, with the goal of restoring Quesnel Forks to its original state.
4938 A second example of our rich history, we have a Lieutenant Commander, William Lore(ph). Very few know that Bill Lore, a Royal Canadian Navel officer born in Victoria, B.C., was the liberator of Hong Kong when the Japanese surrendered at the end of the second war. He was an electronics expert to us, with military intelligence. When the Americans entered the war, Bill Lore was posted or seconded to Washington, D.C. for approximately two years.
4939 As the war shifted to southeast Asia, Bill Lore then became the aid to Admiral Harcourt. And Admiral Harcourt was a commander of the British fleet.
4940 At the time of the surrender Bill Lore was sent ashore with a small landing party where he took the surrender from the Japanese commander and liberated over 300 allied soldiers from the prisoners of war camp, including over 200 Canadians.
4941 As you can see by these two examples, Chinese Canadians have indeed enjoyed a rich history, and we feel that it is important that only Chinese Canadians but all Canadians be aware of the history that has helped shape this country and this province.
4942 CHUM can help the Chinese community accomplish these goals in many ways. They can promote greater awareness of the Chinese history, provide ethnic programming with subtitles to help bridge the generational differences; provide ethnic newscasting with a unique cultural perspective.
4943 And what we see sometimes with the cultural newscaster, I feel that that may be just a token example; whereas CHUM has promised to employ people in all categories.
4944 Another way is to produce original and ethnic local programming, as well as human interest stories; provide a showcase for Canadian feature films and documentaries with, we hope, a Chinese focus.
4945 All I have mentioned here, all of this, will certainly help us in furthering our aim of promotion, better understanding between mainstream Canadians and other ethnic communities.
4946 In concluding my remarks and in speaking for the Chinese Cultural Centre, we believe that Vancouver and British Columbia deserve the best choice in order that the interests of the diverse and rich community to be best served.
4947 Madam Chair and Members of the Commission, I hope that with the few remarks I have made something to convince you for granting the licence to CHUM in order that they can help us achieve our goal for better understanding.
4948 Thank you very much.
4949 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: I remind you that there is ten minutes for the two of you.
4950 MS CHU: How long do we have?
4951 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Two minutes.
4952 MS CHU: Thank you for this opportunity on speaking on behalf of CHUM's licence.
4953 I walked into a reception that I was invited to by a friend, not really knowing that I was going to a CHUM reception, and heard Moses speak and Monica and was overwhelmed by the way they spoke, what they spoke about, and how they spoke from the heart. It resonated with me. I have lived in this city for 25 years, and I haven't felt that kind of reflection that I thought represented me and what I was about for a very long time.
4954 I went home and late that night I called my sister in Toronto and said: "Who are these people that I just met? They seem wonderful to me." She said: "They are. They have been doing this for 30 years in this town." She is a film maker too. She said: "They have kept all their promises. They stay on track. They do what we believe in every day."
4955 I was very excited to see that. I have lived here, as I say, for 25 years and haven't felt that kind of representation in Vancouver at all.
4956 I come from the fashion industry, so it is my job to have my finger on the pulse at all times. It is also my passion, and I love to see that opportunity come to this city.
4957 I feel, from everything I have seen and heard from the past track record of this company, that they will do this in every program they do, in every subtitle they deliver, and in all the avenues they are going to cover. I figure they will go into every aspect of this city.
4958 I would be very pleased if they came here, and I would be hugely disappointed if they didn't.
4959 Thank you.
4960 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much to both of you for having participated.
4961 I'm sorry, but I would like to remind everybody. I don't want to be rude, but we have established a rule for everybody, and it is for fairness. I am asking everybody to collaborate to share the ten minutes, so that we can keep to a rule that is the same for everyone. Thank you.
4962 Madam Secretary.
4963 MS VOGEL: I would like to call Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Association.
4964 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Welcome.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4965 MS CHU: My name is Ling Chu, President of the Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Association. We are here to support CHUM-TV.
4966 As a business association, we believe that healthy competition will bring better quality operations which will benefit the viewers and consumers like us.
4967 My second point is that we are aware of how the power of TV broadcasting can affect our lives, and if TV is a channel for us to learn and communicate with the world then the TV screen will be like a knowledge window for us. However, I have been living in Canada for over ten years, and I cannot find our story, our face, from any mainstream TV.
4968 Our life, we simply do not exist being isolated from society. If TV should act as a bridge to communicate with others, I only see a one-way bridge. That is why we are very happy to see that CHUM is acting as a two-way bridge so that we can all learn about each other and bring respect to this society.
4969 As a woman, in the future I will be a mother. I would like to see my children find their own identity in their story, their love, their hate, and being included in mainstream TV, and to feel that they are being included in mainstream society. We are all part of it, and the picture that I would like to see from mainstream multicultural TV is like this picture that I bring here today.
4970 People say a picture says a thousand words. I would like to see multicultural programs on TV being shown, including all races, and sharing a whole story together.
4971 You can look at this picture later. This poster was delivered by the B.C. government. I hope that we can deliver this true spirit to the TV industry.
4972 Thank you.
4973 MS WANG: My name is Jan Wang. I am a director of the Chinese Entrepreneurs Association. I am involved with the B.C. Heritage Language Association. I am one of the directors.
--- Technical difficulties / Problèmes technique
4974 ... can learn and speak and for different cultures, especially with subtitles, and we can all join together with TV like a family unit together.
4975 Secondly, it will be local product, so it will bring a lot of jobs, everything for local people.
4976 That is my main support for CHUM-TV. Thank you.
4977 MS YU: My name is Judy Yu. I am very pleased to be here to voice my support to CHUM Television's application for a new Vancouver local TV station.
4978 Today I am speaking as a consumer, a businesswoman, a social conscious person, a Chinese Canadian, and most of all I am a true Vancouverite. I have been here for 30 years. I was born in Taiwan. I was a social worker for ten years, and I have been a realtor for the last 15 years.
4979 In my working as a social worker or a realtor I come across a lot of ethnic groups of people in the last 30 years. I feel that having such a multicultural society is the greatest asset that Vancouver has, and we should explore this to the fullest potential so that we can all enjoy the uniqueness of this city.
4980 One of the avenues that we can utilize is our talent communications. I see a tremendous improvement in the talent communication in the last three decades, but I think there is still room to grow. When I see CHUM television station proposal, I think it is quite exciting and has a few points that are very important.
4981 Number one is the quality of our programming. It is true that we have a lot of ethnic programs in the current stations, but most of the programs are imported from these countries. But I think the people who put them on somehow give me a feeling that they don't really understand the language.
4982 Sometimes we see the news on the program but when they stop the program -- because maybe it is only half an hour or one hour program, so they have to put a commercial so they have to stop. But where they stop is so inappropriate, it makes no sense. It is like if you report sports and you have a game going on, but you get the team but you don't get the score. It doesn't excite me because I want to know the score.
4983 These are the kinds of things that I feel really need to be improved. We don't have people who -- either it is a lack of editing skill or it is a lack of understanding of the language. It is just a small thing, but as a consumer it is a very important.
4984 Secondly, I think more programs need to bridge the local and ethnic groups. In my work where I now see a lot of new immigrants I feel that I myself have to do the bridging because I am here for 30 years and I know a lot of sectors. I have to provide this information to my clients or to my new friends. I think that sometimes they are not able to watch the mainstream programming because there English is not as good or whatever, but also the English speaking people would like to know more about Chinese activities but they don't get a chance.
4985 So I think CHUM's ideas are very good.
4986 Also the more locally produced programs is very needed. We have so many talented people here, not just a lot of newcomers but I know in the film and entertaining kind of section and they are not able to find a job because there is nothing for them to do here. They have the talent but nowhere to explore.
4987 For these three reasons, I would like to support CHUM Television's ideas. I hope they are committed to this, and I hope that would be something that will happen in Vancouver.
4988 Thank you.
4989 MS CHANG: Madam Chairperson and Commissioners, my name is Lu Chang, and the First Vice President of the Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Association.
4990 I came to Canada 15 years ago from Taiwan, and I am a banker by profession.
4991 The reason why I am here to support the CHUM application is that basically as a businesswoman I totally agree with the allocation of $30 million, in total, to promote a local production. As all the members have stated, all we see on TV with the so-called local stations, a lot of times what they do is probably import a lot of programs from other places, namely the majority of them basically from the United States.
4992 There is very little chances for us to see really the local produced programs. So as a businesswoman I would really like to see that. I think that is a great opportunity to promote the employment equity as well as what we like to see to implement the different type of ethnic programs.
4993 That is the reason why we are here to support CHUM's application. Thank you for your time.
4994 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much to all of you.
4995 Madam Secretary.
4996 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor this afternoon is the Canadian Ethnocultural Council.
4997 I would ask them to come forward, please.
4998 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Welcome; bonjour.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
4999 MR. DICK: Thank you, Madam Chair, Commissioners. My name is Emmanuel Dick. I am the President of the Canadian Ethnocultural Council. My colleague's name is Anna Chiappa, the Executive Director of the Canadian Ethnocultural Council.
5000 Some may or may not know that the CEC is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of over 30 natural ethnocultural organizations. These organizations, in turn, represent over 2,000 ethnic organizations across Canada.
5001 As a national organization with affiliates throughout the country, the CEC has become one of the most prominent and vocal advocates for multiculturalism, including broadcasting and media.
5002 The fundamental objective of the CEC is to secure equality of opportunity, rights and dignity for ethnocultural minorities in Canada, and this is in conformity with multiculturalism and bilingualism as fundamental characteristics of Canada.
5003 The CEC is pleased to lend its support to the application submitted by CFMT-TV and Rogers Broadcasting Limited for a broadcasting licence to carry the multicultural and multilingual station and to program it with LMTV.
5004 Over the years the CEC has made a number of submissions to the CRTC in support of the multicultural reality in broadcasting. Most recently, we made presentations in the context of the Commission's ethnic policy review of third language and ethnic programming.
5005 The CEC strongly endorses the CRTC's statement of industry principles on cultural diversity. Indeed, the CEC has and continues to support the expectation that all conventional licences must make specific commitments to more accurately reflect the presence of ethnocultural and racial minorities in the communities they serve, as mandated in the Multiculturalism Act and the Broadcasting Act.
5006 We are also pleased to learn that the Canadian Association of Broadcasters is encouraging broadcasters to adopt best practices that comply with this industry standard.
5007 However, we are here today in reference to the ethnic broadcasting policy as we believe that it should be given primary consideration. It is somewhat astonishing that in Vancouver, whose population is now only second to Toronto as the most ethnically and linguistically diverse urban area in the country, this service has not been provided and yet it is available free of charge in large urban centres such as Toronto and Montreal.
5008 With the rapid increase in Canada's ethnocultural population in the Lower Mainland and Victoria, a significant number of Canadians now speak languages other than English and French. Given this diversity, it is the position of CEC that the CRTC should encourage free and accessible third language and ethnic programming that reflects Canadian values, as mandated under the Broadcasting Act and ethnic broadcasting policy.
5009 In earlier submissions to the CRTC, the CEC has gone on record stating that third language and ethnic programming must be expanded. In fact, we support the idea of a national system of multicultural, multilingual TV broadcasting, similar to the Australian Special Broadcasting Service. That is a national multicultural, multilingual TV and radio station. Such programming, created with Canadian values in mind, is an essential tool for all Canadians to understand the complexities and interrelated nature of the local, national and global communities.
5010 Distinctly Canadian multicultural and multilingual services are crucial for Canada to maintain its identity. This can be achieved most effectively by providing ongoing community support and licensing for multicultural, multilingual professional television station such as CFMT and LMTV.
5011 CFMT is a successful broadcaster with 20 years of experience. It was the first over-the-air multilingual television station and the first to offer professional multicultural and multilingual programming of the highest quality.
5012 LMTV can offer an important local perspective to the Vancouver area, and because of this national link with CFMT it can also provide a national perspective on issues linking one part of the country to another.
5013 As broadcasters, CFMT has demonstrated a commitment to serving the diverse communities. This is evident by the relationship of communities in supporting and working with them, and forging partnerships based on mutual respect.
5014 The establishment of a Community Advisory Board is an indication of that commitment. While others speak of diversity, CFMT practises it on a daily basis. Diversity is its raison d'être.
5015 MS CHIAPPA: At the local level, LMTV will offer information on activities and important events or programs for and about ethnocultural groups. This is an immediate effect of offering positive portrayal and images, which is especially important for children, particularly children who are taking heritage language programs.
5016 I don't know whether you are aware, but in British Columbia there are over 30,000 children who are learning heritage language programs after school and on weekends. In addition, the B.C. Ministry of Education has a language education policy which allows for the teaching of third languages in regular classrooms.
5017 So the third language is vibrant. It is an important part of the communities here, and it helps meet the generational exchange.
5018 When ethnic programming first emerged in local communities through the local cable channels over 20 years ago, they provided much needed information on local events, festivals and culture, and information on immigration. Today local cable programs are still offering this, but the reasons why communities continue to watch and support this have expanded.
5019 With the advent of new media and new technology, the target audience of CFMT or LMTV is part of really a new communal identity based on globalization.
5020 As the University of Ottawa Professor Karim Karim says, it is really a hybrid of past alliances, the re-establishment of relationships, as well as the experiences of negotiating real live in a new country of settlement and interaction with other individual and groups in that society.
5021 The emergence of satellites, as well as the expansion of the Internet and global online technologies currently offer, and will continue to offer, programming which lack Canadian values and content and which may be, in point of fact, more of a threat to Canadian sovereignty than any split-run magazine.
5022 A Canadian balance must be provided through the provision of free third language programming with broadcasters such as LMTV.
5023 We are pleased that CFMT proposes to support and increase and strengthen the documentary film making industry in TV. The support of the talent and industry can fill a growing market which is currently being neglected in Canada. For example, in Australia again, publicly funded Special Broadcasting Services has half of the scheduled programming in more than 60 languages and employs 900 full and part-time staff. Two-thirds of all their programs are purchased from suppliers from around the world, as well as Australia.
5024 Canadian third language documentaries, supported by broadcasters such as LMTV, can offer similar product and compete in this market.
5025 LMTV will be a springboard for individuals seeking to work in the cultural industry, especially for other cultural independent producers and artists who have little opportunities in regular media.
5026 In addition to offering programs in different languages, the CEC is pleased with the proposal that LMTV will offer programs for youth and women, and will focus on multilingual news and information programming. These will deal with social and cultural concerns of importance to ethnocultural communities and will provide opportunities for citizen engagement and help build social cohesion. It will help strengthen communities, giving them a sense of belonging and unity to a Canadian whole.
5027 LMTV programs will benefit the local communities in the context of a national framework. Its manifestation of support for democratic pluralism and citizen engagement. It will inform, educate and offer a voice, as well as give a voice, to the many ethnocultural communities. And by offering coverage on national issues from an ethnocultural perspective, it will fill a gap in media, creating a bridge between western and eastern Canada, perhaps contributing to a better understanding of regional concerns, problems and feelings of alienation.
5028 MR. DICK: The CEC is very excited about the application. If the licence is granted, it is the hope that LMTV will continue to set an industry standard such as the one that has been developed by CFMT. It will offer new windows of opportunity, including one new means by which citizens can be engaged in a national dialogue and unity.
5029 We have endorsed the concept of multiculturalism and multilingual language broadcasting as we believe it is good for B.C. and it is good for the country, both economically, culturally, and you can say also socially. It is a vital part of the continued development of a Canadian identity and a body politic which is committed to multiculturalism and democratic pluralism. We see it as a source of strength, a new richness of and for Canadian society, which makes ethnic communities from ghettoization to globalization, not only by bringing the world to us by also by sharing our Canadian values with the rest of the world.
5030 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much to both of you.
5031 Madam Secretary.
5032 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenors this afternoon are Milton K. Wong and Barbara Brink.
5033 I would ask Barbara to come forward. Mr. Wong will be joining us via videotape, and he will be available on the phone for any questions that the Commission might have about his intervention.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5034 MS BRINK: Obviously I am not Milton Wong, and I am here to introduce him later in my presentation.
5035 I am an immigrant to Canada. I spent several years in Ontario and then luckily I moved out here. I say luckily I moved out here, because I think as a 17-year-old little did I understand the richness that I would be faced with when I came to Vancouver. I don't mean richness in terms of weather -- obviously, we are very blessed -- but I mean richness in terms of the people that live here that make up such a wonderfully diverse community.
5036 I spent 12 years putting together a science centre, but I have also been very involved in some of the changes that have happened in our community. One of those that I am extremely proud of is I chaired the United Way Campaign for two years and during that time we shepherded through a complete change in the way agencies who deliver services to the community would function in terms of being much more open and diverse, and also the cabinet changed its face entirely in terms of the folks that were on the cabinet.
5037 Something else that I am also involved in is something called Leadership Vancouver, which is a training program from emerging leaders from the corporate, not for profit, and labour sector and we also obviously have a total overlay of ethnic diversity within that class each year.
5038 I also chaired the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, their conference that was held out here. But my role today is to introduce you to Milton Wong, who has been a long-time friend. He and I have worked on several projects together.
5039 Milton is probably known as being the father of the Dragon Boat Festival, but frankly another role that I am equally proud of is the role of that he played in the founding of the Laurier Institution, of which I am also a vice-chair. It is a very small institution which is only ten years old, but it does major research into the social and economic impacts of immigration and diversity.
5040 We have had several studies of the years, and our role, frankly, is to downplay the rhetoric or diffuse the rhetoric that often surrounds some of these very emotional issues. We do a lot of research studies based on that.
5041 The one thing that we have found through all this is that the media is desperate for knowledge and often phone us and ask us for quotes in many different issues around this area. And I can also say that I think Canadians are desperate for this knowledge as well.
5042 It is for that reason that I personally support this application, because I think it is extremely important, not only for the communities that are here and the new communities, but frankly the larger community at large.
5043 Lester Pearson said it beautifully and I can't say it better, but I will paraphrase, that I think through education comes understanding and through understanding comes peace. And I think that the more we can understand, the better off this community will be.
5044 Frankly, it is a wonderful community to be in. It sets the standard for many things that happen in Canada, and I would love to see this television licence granted.
5045 Now we can watch Milt. He is marrying a daughter in some other part of the world.
--- Video presentation / Présentation vidéo
5046 MR. WONG: Ladies and gentlemen, committee members of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, you have long heard about the necessity for communication media to better serve and reflect Canada's multicultural population. As committee members, you have also participated in the movement of such discussion from theory to practice.
5047 Thanks to the work of the CRTC, Canada can boast of regulatory broadcasting policies which allocate airtime to ethnic broadcasting. This is a clear example of policymaking that reflects need. It is affirmative, ambitious, and responsive to population statistics and sociopolitical trends.
5048 It is also policymaking that responds to everyday experience. Our personal interactions bear witness to what policy aims to accommodate -- namely, that the Canadian community is multicultural; that a good portion of its members are multilingual; and that commonality of experience, much more so than ethnic origin, hold us together as a people.
5049 Canada today is a tapestry. Our different identities and cultural backgrounds weave together like various strands, strengthened in unity, and rich in variance of colour. This metaphor is an apt description of what it means to be Canadian. However, let us not forget, and recognize, that metaphors cannot suffice to negotiate the difficulties of cultural difference, and of national unity, that multiculturalism can introduce.
5050 It is for this reason that I speak before you today. Media pull weight where metaphoric imagery cannot. Media are dynamic and ever-changing, with wide circles of influence. Print, radio, television and other telecommunications play powerful roles in the defining of shared experience along national lines. We have come to understand this great potential to influence us as individuals and a nation. It is within our reach to harness that power, to the advantage of Canadian culture.
5051 But how? Can a multicultural television channel help us reach out to our diverse population, synchronize communities and contribute to national unity?
5052 That is the question that has prompted the thoughts I want to share with you today -- and the question I hope to help answer.
5053 The statistics speak plainly and persuasively: 17 per cent of Canada's total population are immigrants. In Toronto, immigrants number 42 per cent of the total population; in Vancouver, this number is 35 per cent. It stands to reason that Toronto and Vancouver lead the country in being the most ethnically and linguistically diverse.
5054 Our nation has a long history of gingerly negotiating the space between social tension and cultural richness. We have not always been successful. Think of the collection of head tax on Chinese immigrants, or the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II, or residential schools.
5055 Despite these shameful occurrences we persevered, and in 1971 the former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau introduced the Policy of Multiculturalism to Parliament. Said Trudeau -- and I quote:
"National unity, if it is to mean anything in the deeply personal sense, must be founded on confidence in one's own individual identity; out of this can grow respect for others and a willingness to share ideas, attitudes and assumptions."
5056 With that, the process of articulating our tolerance, respect, and appreciation for diversity, became institutionalized.
5057 Since then, to improve our management of cultural diversity, committees such as yours work to translate idealogy into policy and policy into practice. Now we stand in an excellent position to actualize the dictates of your ethnic broadcasting regulations.
5058 A multicultural television channel has remarkable potential. First, it legitimizes cultural practice, not only for specific cultural practitioners, but also in the eyes of others who may not come from that culture.
5059 Secondly, it teaches through the demonstration of cultural practice.
5060 Third, it is about access. Such a channel reaches out to individuals and wields the power to influence and unify an otherwise diverse audience. The great diversity of individuals who make up our social fabric can only benefit from increased access and exposure to our country in microcosm.
5061 Fourth and lastly, through a multicultural television channel, Canadian society is provided a venue in which to openly endorse equality, through the democratic recognition of the identities and collective voices of ethnocultural groups. Television, like all media, sprouts ideas. It permits voices, possibly heretofore marginalized, to be resurrected. It represents the many ways of seeing and knowing in society. Through media, a myriad of experiences can be represented and the promotion of an informed and knowledgeable debate can be facilitated.
5062 In conclusion, let me assert my conviction that media play a powerful role in the weaving of the political, social and cultural tapestry of Canada. Media are not neutral technologies but real determinants of the social fabric. As such, the potential of media to negotiate the multilingual and multicultural challenges of Canadian society must not be undermined. A multicultural television channel can be a forum wherein policy pushes through to practise.
5063 Let us resolve to dedicate this channel to the recognition and support of ethnocultural groups, and thereby foster a social fabric of equality and justice in our multicultural society.
5064 Thank you.
5065 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
5066 Madam Secretary, please.
5067 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenors this afternoon are Joseph D. Sorbara and Brian G. Baynham.
5068 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good afternoon.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5069 MR. SORBARA: Good afternoon. Madame la Présidente, members of the Commission, my name is Joseph Sorbara. I am a partner in the law firm of Tanzola & Sorbara in Toronto, and also a business person in Toronto. I am the Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors of York University and the Chair of the Advisory Board of CFMT-TV.
5070 With me today is Mr. Brian Baynham, who will introduce himself to you more fully in a few minutes. He is a member of the Rogers Broadcasting Radio Local Advisory Board here in Vancouver.
5071 My purpose in being here today is to assure the Commission of the important and effective role played by the CFMT Advisor Board and hopefully to give you confidence that the underlying philosophy of CFMT in regards to advisory boards will enable the LMTV Advisory Board to play a similar important and effective role here in the Lower Mainland and Victoria.
5072 I have been involved with CFMT since its inception, and I have been the Chair of the local advisory board for over a decade. The CFMT Advisory Board is representative of the communities that CFMT serves and holds regularly scheduled meetings, and also special meetings are called with members of senior CFMT management always in attendance to make the presentations and to be questioned on the happenings at the station.
5073 So the advisory board is actively involved in the life of CFMT.
5074 What does our board do? Our board reviews all financial, operating and capital expenditure plans before they are presented to the Rogers Broadcasting Board. We also review financial results, programming results and sales results for each half year.
5075 It is my understanding that any matter going before the approving board must be accompanied by a recommendation from the advisory board, either in support of or against the matter coming before the board.
5076 The members of the board actively participate in the strategic planning process. I am a member of the Long Range Planning Committee of CFMT, as is one other member of the advisory board, but all members of the advisory board are invited to any meeting of that committee.
5077 That committee was active in the strategic planning process that led to the applications for the rebroadcasters in London and Ottawa and that led to this application.
5078 We also provide advice and guidance on significant programming strategy directions; that is, decisions which might rebalance the amount of programming provided for various ethnocultural groups.
5079 Just over three years ago we had a very intense discussion on this matter when the recommendation to reduce an hour of Italian programming in favour of Chinese programming was brought before the advisory board before it went to the Rogers board. The members of the advisory board, in addition to examining the material that was provided there, made recommendations and were insistent that there a manner in judging the response and perhaps changing again if there was adverse reaction in the community.
5080 To my knowledge, no significant decision with respect to CFMT has ever been taken without input from our advisory board.
5081 In addition, there are occasions when CFMT management often contacts individual members of the advisory board to consult with them informally on issues relating to the particular ethnocultural groups that they represent.
5082 Based on my experience on the CFMT Advisory Board, I am confident that the LMTV Advisory Board will play an important role in the life of that station if you approve our application.
5083 Ms Jaffer, Mr. Loh and the other members of the community who are on the board will have an exciting opportunity to actively participate in the establishment and growth and development of a new multilingual television station and to ensure that the needs and interests of the ethnocultural communities that they represent are fully and effectively represented.
5084 LMTV will be very fortunate to have the enthusiastic input of Ms Jaffer and Mr. Loh in launching this new station and going forward.
5085 I thank you for the opportunity of sharing my experience with you with the CFMT Advisory Board.
5086 MR. BAYNHAM: As Mr. Sorbara indicated, I am a partner at Harper Grey Easton, and I have been a member of the Rogers Broadcasting Radio Local Advisory Board for over a decade. Prior to that, I was a member for many years of the advisory board when it was owned by Selkirk Communications.
5087 I can advise the Commission that Rogers Broadcasting is actively involved in this market. It knows and understands the broadcasting environment. I can also confirm that the company is committed to an important and effective role that can be played by local advisory boards.
5088 In my experience, Rogers Broadcasting and their representatives that attend the meetings always welcome and act upon, where appropriate, the views and recommendations of the advisory board. Meetings are held regularly and are attended by local staff and representatives of Rogers that attend from Toronto.
5089 In my experience, it is a very effective sounding board for local input, and it provides the opportunity for the local station representatives -- the station manager, the program manager, marketing managers, and so forth -- to present their views about where the station is going and to advise the board how they met their goals in the past.
5090 I have been on the board in one form or another for 20 years, and I can say that Rogers has continued the relationship that I had with Selkirk and sees it as an important part of the local radio station.
5091 When Rogers took over one of the stations -- there are three stations that are covered by the advisory board -- CKWX was a country and western station. They changed it to an all news station, and that was a very big change. The country and western format simply couldn't handle an FM station and an AM station in the market, and by changing it to an all news station Rogers has had a very big impact on the local news market here.
5092 The views of the board as to how news was different in Vancouver than in Toronto was taken very seriously. The experience in Toronto was very much business and stock market based. They found out when they came to Vancouver that it was a lot more important to have weather and traffic; that business and stock markets were not quite as important.
5093 The third station in the group is the Mountain FM service. One of the members of the advisory board is a realtor at Whistler. He comes down regularly from Whistler for the meetings. It covers the Squamish area, Whistler and does its best it can to cover the Sunshine Coast.
5094 The people who operate the station rely very heavily on that individual to advise about the very different market that is at Whistler and the very different needs of the Squamish community.
5095 My experience has been very positive as a member of the advisory board. I think, particularly with a multicultural TV station with all the various groups in the community that it will endeavour to serve, an advisory board is a very important part of the whole mix. I would urge you to award this licence in favour of Rogers.
5096 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you. Commissioner Cram has a question for you.
5097 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you. My first one is sort of facetious: Is there anybody on any of these advisory boards who isn't a lawyer? Ms Jaffer and the other gentleman who was on the Rogers board was also a lawyer, and I think you, Mr. Sorbara, are the only one who isn't a Q.C. And this comes from a former lawyer, so I think I am hyper-sensitive.
5098 Thank you for telling me about your experience. What about the stability of the board in the sense that both of you have been on these boards for a good long time? Are they changed, and especially in terms of the ethnic station? Are the individuals renewed? How are they chosen?
5099 MR. SORBARA: Let me say that I am a Q.C. I just did not put the initials on it.
5100 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Your letterhead doesn't say it. Excuse me.
5101 MR. SORBARA: And there are four members of our board who are not lawyers as well.
5102 Our board has had two vacancies, which have now been filled by a representative of the Punjabi community and a representative of the Chinese community. There were also some appointments made, I think, about four years ago, when Nalanie Stewart(ph) was put on our board to represent the South Asian community.
5103 The ultimate decision, of course, of who goes on the board is in the hands of the Rogers organization. They try to keep a balance, and probably there is only myself and two others who have been on the board as long as I have.
5104 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
5105 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
5106 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor this afternoon is the Law Courts Education Society of British Columbia, Wallace T. Oppal.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5107 MR. OPPAL: My name is Wally Oppal. I am here in my capacity as the Chairman or the President of the Law Courts Education Society.
5108 The Law Courts Education Society is a public legal education society. Its mandate is to provide public legal education and a greater understanding of the justice system to the members of the public and in particular to describe and to better educate the public in the workings of the court system.
5109 Very broadly speaking, its objective is to bridge the gap between the courts and the members of the public.
5110 The programs of the society in general have a two-fold objective. First, it is to inform the public about the rule of law in a democracy and the obligations that go with the rule of law. Its objective is to provide information to the public about the various levels of the courts, to provide information to victims of crime, to deal with issues of spousal violence to child abuse, alcoholism and issues of that nature.
5111 Secondly, the other objective is to sensitize those people who work within the system about the needs of the changing public. The public is demanding more and greater things from the justice system, and those of us who work in the system as judges, lawyers and other professionals have a duty to relate to a changing demographic society that we have here in British Columbia.
5112 Since its establishment, the Law Courts Education Society has been extremely successful. It has been the recipient of a number of international awards, particularly in the areas of providing services and programming for First Nations people who have historically had a distrust of the justice system.
5113 We have also provided areas of proactive approaches towards spousal violence, youth at risk, young offenders, and more recently we have been involved with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia in a joint program to combat car theft and crimes associated with automobiles.
5114 Many of those programs have won international awards.
5115 In 1994 the Government of South Africa asked us to go to South Africa to assist that government after its initial election in providing information and a report on how members of the public could access the system in an emerging democracy. After we filed the report with them, they have asked us to come back and to provide ways and advice as to how to implement the recommendations contained in the report.
5116 Similarly, we have had trips to mainland China, to Guatemala, to Montenegro and to other areas of the globe. Federal judges in the United States have asked our society to provide them with a better understanding of how to reach multicultural communities, how best to those of us who work in the system do we make ourselves more credible and more understandable to the community at large, particularly when it comes to women's issues, to issues involving young offenders, and to issues relating to victims of crime.
5117 The Society's work has become more relevant in a changing demographic picture. I am sure this Commission has heard evidence that the population of Vancouver is now 44 per cent visible minorities; two-thirds of all immigrants come from Asia; 18 per cent of the population of this province is now said to be visible minority.
5118 Nearly 50 per cent of the students in Vancouver schools have English as a second language. Thus our work has become more relevant and more important, because we go into the schools and we explain the rule of law, and we explain to the children in the schools, the students in our schools, the workings of the criminal justice system.
5119 Many newcomers who come to...
--- Technical difficulties / Problèmes techniques
5120 ...reprisal if they have come to testify in criminal courtrooms.
5121 Many newcomers are not aware of their legal rights and we have gone into the immigrant and multicultural communities to address those issues. The Law Courts Education Society is a society of eight ethno-cultural communities in the greater Vancouver area and we learned that there is a real significant lack of knowledge of our institutions in general and the legal system in particular.
5122 In 1994 I headed a Royal Commission into policing in this province. It was a commission that attracted very much attention. We had over 1,200 written submissions. We had 57 days of public hearings, after which we filed a report with government that contained over 300 recommendations, many of those have now been put into practice or in legislation. The new Police Act has been introduced in this province.
5123 But I want to tell you that there was a great mistrust, and continues to be a great mistrust, in the police on the part of many of the multicultural communities who come from societies where police are not trusted. Therefore, the police were at a dilemma because they had a difficult time in relating to communities after crimes were committed. They would go into a community and they would learn that there would be a wall of silence once they got there.
5124 So we recommended to the government of this province that they adopt aggressive multicultural policies and better training, sensitivity training for police, and also embark on an aggressive recruitment policy so that we have more women and more multiculturalism presence in policing.
5125 I am pleased to say that after our Royal Commission's report was filed that the police, the RCMP, as well as the municipal forces, have adopted many of our policies, including one for the -- they have a domestic violence response team in Vancouver now. That is something that we specifically recommended that where you have an instance of spousal violence that the police attend, not only with a police officer, but with a person who has an expertise in counselling so that we can address the root causes of these problems.
5126 All of this is background to the fact that the Law Courts Education Society is submitting to you, with great respect, that if you see fit to grant another licence in this market, that licence be granted to a station that is dedicated to multilingual and multicultural broadcasting.
5127 These issues of which I speak, spousal violence, child abuse, youth at risk, aboriginal discontent with our institutions, are issues that have to be dealt with. You see, by the time we in the courts deal with these problems it is too late.
5128 We have to get into the multicultural communities, and we have to explain to the multicultural communities and to the immigrants who have come here, as to what they ought to do, how they can best trust the system and how the system can work for them. We have to have victims of crime to come forward and speak to our various agencies. There is no better way of doing that than to have a media outlet that will provide a vehicle by which people can come forward and lodge their complaints and their concerns.
5129 The ethnic print media has had a strong presence here in this market for a long, long time. It is our recommendation, and I do so with the greatest of respect, recommend to you that the next licence that is granted in this market be granted to an outlet that is aggressively in a proactive way dedicated to those ideals that I have alluded to here this afternoon. They are most important, that in a civil democracy, in a civil society, where the rule of law is something that governs all of us, that the newcomers to our society be apprised of our rules. There is no better way of doing it than through this medium.
5130 I thank you very much for allowing me the opportunity to appear before you this afternoon. I would be pleased to answer any questions that you may have.
5131 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: I think it is quite clear, your presentation and your original intervention.
5132 Thank you very much.
5133 MR. OPPAL: Thank you.
5134 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: We will take one more intervention. I think it is the one by telephone next.
5135 MS VOGEL: Our next intervener this afternoon is Gurmant Grewal, Official Opposition Deputy House Leader. He will be joining us by telephone this afternoon.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5136 MR. GREWAL: Hello.
5137 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Yes.
5138 MR. GREWAL: Good afternoon, Madam Chair and the Commissioners.
5139 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good evening to you. We hear that you are far away.
5140 MR. GREWAL: That's right.
5141 Let me begin like this, that my name is Gurmant Grewal, as you introduced me. I am the Member of Parliament for Surrey Central.
5142 Due to my busy schedule, as well as due to the long distance, because I am on the other end of the country, and also due to these boondoggles that we have to deal with here in Ottawa, I could not appear in person before you today to express my support for LMTV.
5143 It would have been really nice if I was physically present there. It would have been more interactive, the discussion we could have, but it could not be possible. But I thank you for allowing me to testify via telephone.
5144 Madam Chair, I am speaking on behalf of my constituents and many British Columbians. My support for this application is also informed by my own life experience.
5145 Let me briefly introduce myself. I was born and educated in India. For the last 20 years I have some experience as a university professor, manager, entrepreneur, a realter, and now a federal politician representing the constituents of Surrey Central.
5146 I understand from my recent personal experience how it feels to arrive in a new country. Canada is the third country in which I have chosen my home, and I believe that this is my final country where I will be bringing up my family.
5147 I understand that there is hope and optimism, also there are challenges that the new immigrants have to face. There is a need to support your family economically in a business culture that you need initially to fully understand.
5148 There are competing social pressures on new immigrants. On one hand, there is a desire to become more fully integrated into Canadian society, and on the other hand, there is the desire to retain your family's original culture. So you have to balance that and find ways to bring up your family in a new country. It is a very challenging position. These forces are all at play today in my riding and the new immigrants continue facing this situation.
5149 As you may know, Surrey Central is one of the largest constituencies in Canada in population because the population in this riding is about 175,000 people. On an average, the population in Canada for each riding is about 95,000. For the balance, between 95 and 175,000, is those people who are new immigrants to Surrey.
5150 As you know, Surrey is the fastest growing city in Canada. It is a part of the large urban and suburban area that is known as the Greater Vancouver regional district. My constituency includes the communities of Newton, Cloverdale, Guildford, Whalley, Fleetwood and Port Kells.
5151 So I can see that the growth in Surrey is being fuelled largely by the new immigrants. Surrey has also the largest composition of Sikhs outside of Segal in the world. My constituents, who are basically South Asian people of South Asian origin and many other ethnocultural backgrounds, currently have only very limited access to television programming that reflects their community and their culture.
5152 Even though there are some multicultural programs people have access to watch and listen, but they have little or no access to Canadian television programming that offers them information about this city, about this province and about this country in their mother tongue or from their ethno-cultural perspectives.
5153 Madam Chair, I know how much hard work that I do as an MP, but there is very little information available to my constituents by way of television. My constituents do not know too much about what's happening in the country because of these barriers which I mentioned earlier. I believe that LMTV if it is licensed to operate in B.C. will help overcome most of these challenges.
5154 There will be a number of benefits those people will have. They will have access to better education. They will enhance their knowledge about our country, about our province, about how the phone system in their country works. They will get familiar with the national and international issues.
5155 And also, this television system will be very much helpful for people to understand various government systems and government departments, and many social-cultural organizations, criminal justice system, the taxation system and many other ways of learning. It will enhance the quality of learning of the constituent.
5156 Also, Madam Chair, LMTV, as I understand, will provide high quality television programming for many different ethno-cultural groups. The number of hours of locally produced South Asian programs each week will be very helpful to my constituents and people of British Columbia.
5157 Now, this programming will be national and South Asian news programming that will also be made available to viewers in Ontario. I also understand that CFMT has established very effective consultative procedures to ensure that members of the communities that it serves are actively involved in program development.
5158 Madam Chair, I also believe that LMTV will have many benefits for my constituents. For example, it will reflect or it will benefit them from access to television programming that will truly reflect the multicultural diversity of the society in which we live. Canada is the most multicultural country in the world. We have people from each and every country living in our country. I think this program will reflect the multicultural diversity that our country has.
5159 Also, there is a big, huge need for positive and balanced -- from social, economical and political perspectives, as I mentioned, some of the things earlier. This programming, I hope, will facilitate integration of various communities into the mainstream and help them participate into Canadian society.
5160 When we talk about diversity, I think that this is our asset to have diversity. Diversity is not our liability. But there is also a sense in some people's minds that diversity is also contributing to a sort of categorization in the communities where people live. In some areas there are certain communities that dominate and there could be some foreseen problems coming out in the future because of this categorization, the problem that I am trying to express.
5161 We have a problem that can be solved, not by segregating communities, but by integrating various communities. It can avoid any racial tensions or problems like that, or any hate word, or other things in the future if this kind of television programming is provided to the people. In the long run, it will be a huge cost savings and progressive activity in the community.
5162 LMTV, as I understand, will create many new jobs. It will contribute in creating new jobs, both at the new television system and in the independent production industry.
5163 I have, Madam Chair, visited CFMT-TV in Toronto. Based on that visit, I know that the staff at LMTV will reflect the multicultural diversity of the community that it serves. It will offer people of many different ethnocultural origins an opportunity to pursue exciting and creative careers in the Canadian broadcasting system. LMTV also will provide business people in my riding as well as in the greater -- GVRD -- with the first real opportunity to use television advertising to reach their constituents. It will diversify their marketplace. It will give them the opportunities to reach to their consumers and clients more efficiently.
5164 Madam Chair, and the Members of the Commission, I appreciate this opportunity to appear before you to support the application by CFMT for a new multilingual television station here in Vancouver.
5165 I strongly believe that the licensing of LMTV will have many benefits on my constituents and for everyone who lives in the Lower Mainland and British Columbia and Canada.
5166 I wish you well in the rest of this proceeding and in your deliberations.
5167 Madam Chair, I would be pleased to answer any questions from you and the Members of the Commission that you may for me.
5168 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Well, thank you very much, sir. We have no questions. Your support verbally today and in your written intervention is quite clear.
5169 Thank you very much.
5170 MR. GREWAL: Thank you very much once again.
5171 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: And thank you for having stayed late from Europe to be with us.
5172 MR. GREWAL: I think I am prepared to do anything for my constituents and I feel pleased about that.
5173 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
5174 MR. GREWAL: Goodbye.
5175 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: We will now pause and take a coffee break and we will be back in 15 minutes.
--- Recess at 1614 / Suspension à 1614
--- Upon resuming at 1635 / Reprise à 1635
5176 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Welcome back.
5177 Madam Secretary, please.
5178 MS VOGEL: Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
5179 Our next intervenor this afternoon is from Omni Film Productions Ltd., Michael Chechik, Brian Hamilton, Christian Bruyère; and from Paperny Films Inc., David Paperny.
5180 Go ahead when you are ready, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5181 MR. CHECHIK: Hi, my name is Michael Chechik.
5182 As President of Omni Film Productions, a 21-year old documentary television production company, I would like to add my name to those supporting CFMT-TV's application for a new multicultural television station.
5183 Omni Film Productions began by making films on wildlife and environmental issues and has evolved into one of Vancouver's largest documentary production houses with offices located in Gastown. We are the recipient of numerous international awards and are currently in production for CBC's Witness series as well as "Champions of the Wild", the series for Discovery Canada, and "Quiet Places" a series for the Vision Network.
5184 CFMT-TV's application will provide much needed help for B.C.'s weakened documentary production community. Of B.C.'s independent producers about 75 per cent produce documentaries. While there is an explosion of interest in documentaries across Canada and internationally, these are becoming increasingly difficult to produce. There are simply too many producers, too many projects, chasing too few dollars.
5185 Specifically, our provincial funding agency, B.C. Film, which routinely funds about 50 documentaries a year is now, with depleted resources, only funding 10 documentaries. The Canadian Television Fund, another source of funding, has a policy of heavily weighting the percentage of broadcast licences to budget in evaluating projects, which discourages prestigious higher quality programming that would appeal to an international market.
5186 Under these conditions, the documentary production company has to adapt to survive. We are faced with two basic choices: One, to work with the Canadian funding system to do lower budget shows for Canadian audiences or reach out beyond Canada's borders to broadcasters and production partners with projects that can be sold in the international market. In either of these situations, CFMT-TV's documentary funding initiative will have a significant impact by providing $4.5 million over seven years.
5187 Using Canadian funding sources, the LMTV licences of up to $70,000 for only a B.C. first window and an Ontario second window, allows the producer to cobble together other licences. Taken together, with perhaps a national licence from a specialty channel, there may be enough in place to trigger the Canadian Television Fund so that a higher-end international documentary can actually be financed here.
5188 With a funding approach outside Canada, LMTV will be one of the few broadcasters in Canada to licence documentaries by B.C. producers on international stories of interest to their multicultural audience. These films can be shot anywhere in the world and will have appeal in the international market.
5189 Moreover, LMTV's market initiative of $45,000 per year will encourage B.C. producers to travel to the international markets and make the necessary contacts to sell their films.
5190 Finally, my experience with Rogers, in terms of their promises and commitments, is that they do keep their word and deliver. It has been our experience with Rogers' documentary fund and with interim financing through the Rogers' Telefund. The fact that this commitment is written into their application gives me further comfort.
5191 MR. HAMILTON: Good afternoon. My name is Brian Hamilton.
5192 I work as a producer and executive producer with Omni Films, and over the past, about five years, I have been involved in about 30 programs, individual programs. About a half dozen of those I have played the role of executive producer, which is a mentoring relationship where I am working with an emerging director or producer with their idea, trying to bring it to the screen.
5193 I brought an example of one of the programs that I have been involved in. This is "Bitter Paradise: The Sell Out of East Timor" a film that took the film maker almost 10 years to make due to the difficulty of finding financing for single documentaries with internationally-related subjects.
5194 So I am here to really add my voice, of course, and say why it is important not just to myself, but to a number of emerging producers who I am working with or hope to work with, why the LMTV application could make such a major difference. I really think it comes down to renewing hope for the documentary production sector in British Columbia.
5195 In terms of the executive producing role that I have played, if this film maker came to me today with the same idea, she would not even get a meeting in my office. We would exchange e-mails and I would say: "Listen, I am sorry. It is a wonderful idea, but I can't see how we could make this."
5196 It really is desperately difficult to make a high quality single documentary that is speaking to Canadians about Canadian issues. This particular film, although the subject is East Timor, it is the Canadian government's complicity in the situation there. It is very much a story that Canadians need to know about.
5197 These days, I am in the difficult position of really being the bottleneck for emerging film makers who come to me with ideas. I get two or three a week, and they say, "I have this promising idea. I really like your advice. Maybe we can work together." I end up saying no and no and no, and it's something that doesn't get seen. In the statistics it's not something that gets seen, in lists of productions because the idea may begin in someone's mind and stop when they get a lot of "no's."
5198 You know, I pass on colleagues' names to these people saying: "Well, perhaps, Fred or Mary can help you." And when I call my colleagues later, they are also saying no. The reason is that the economic model doesn't add up now. The numbers just don't make it feasible to create high quality single issue documentaries.
5199 What this application will make possible is, therefore, hope that there will be slots, there will be demand. Rather than one of these film makers accepting a job as a production coordinator on an American service production, they will have their idea be given a chance to become reality. It is very, very important that we take account of these ideas that are in people's minds, but they don't have the support, and someone like me can provide that if I have a partner in a broadcaster, especially based in Vancouver. So that's wonderful.
5200 That's all I have to say.
5201 MR. BRUYERE: My name is Christian Bruyere. I am also a producer with Omni Film Productions. For the past four years I have been spending most of my production time on a series called "Champions of the Wild" going around the world filming people who are working with wildlife.
5202 I support the positive intervention points expressed by my Omni colleagues and I would like to just add a few points.
5203 With CFMT-TV's stated $3.5 million support for the production of at least 50 new English-language documentaries, established B.C. producers will have a chance to broaden our perspectives. We will have an incentive to create quality programs which will deal with the issues, concerns, and interests of the Lower Mainland and Victoria's vast multicultural communities.
5204 Also, I understand that a large share of CFMT-TV's $1 million development fund will be going to support the development and mentoring of culturally diverse B.C. film makers with strong documentary stories.
5205 I feel that this is an important component in supporting B.C.'s multicultural population. It will help members of the ethnic communities learn the skills and techniques of documentary film making to tell their own stories. I had the pleasure of mentoring a Hong Kong immigrant film maker and helping her to produce a television documentary about the changes in attitude of new Hong Kong immigrants as they adjust to Canadian culture.
5206 In this program, called "New Happiness", when one new female immigrant was asked to give an example of how things have changed for her in Canada, she responded: "In Hong Kong I had to listen to my husband all the time. In Canada, I only have to listen to him when he is right."
5207 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Which is rarely, from my experiences.
--- Laughter / Rires
5208 MR. BRUYERE: I also helped a Japanese and Canadian produce a short film about a Japanese Elvis impersonator called "Heartbreak Hotel".
5209 These were very rewarding experiences for me. In producing these programs I gained valuable insights into other cultures.
5210 I believe many other British Columbians are interested in who their neighbours are and where they have come from. Thus, I believe that CFMT-TV will appeal to a general television audience as well as the under served 54 per cent multicultural population of the Lower Mainland of Victoria.
5211 To sum up, I feel strongly that CFMT-TV will be good for the B.C. documentary production community. I trust Rogers. You know, they kept their promises of financial support for the Canadian television production community for the past 20 years. I am confident that CFMT-TV will appeal to a substantial number of B.C. viewers, at least as many viewers as some of the other new specialty channels that are currently being broadcast in B.C.
5212 Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to appear in front of you to support CFMT-TV.
5213 MS HOFFMANN: Hi. My name is Stacey Hoffmann. I am appearing on behalf of David Paperny and David Paperny Films. I am an associate producer with his company.
5214 We are one of Canada's most respected documentary production companies. We haven't been around as long as Omni Films, but we do have a significant role to play here in the documentary community.
5215 We produce primarily Canadian history and biography documentaries. Some of our recent programs include "The Life and Times of Henry Morgentaler" for CBC, "Murder in Normandy" for History Television, "To Russia With Fries" for CTV --
5216 MS VOGEL: Excuse me. I'm sorry to interrupt, but we are past the 10 minutes, so if you could wrap up quickly it would be appreciated.
5217 MS HOFFMANN: Okay.
5218 We have also been nominated for an Academy Award so we -- I am echoing the same points as my colleagues on this panel.
5219 We support the initiative of LMTV and the committed dollars and support that the local documentary community here in Vancouver clearly needs.
5220 Yes, that's my wrap-up.
5221 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
5222 MS VOGEL: Our next interveners this afternoon are the United Chinese Community Enrichment Services Society, or S.U.C.C.E.S.S., Lilian To and Tung Chan.
5223 Would you come forward, please?
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5224 MS TO: Bienvenue and good afternoon.
5225 My name is Lilian To. I am the Executive Director of S.U.C.C.E.S.S. which is a non-profit committee service organization established for 27 years to help immigrants integrate in the Canadian society.
5226 Wilfrid Wan who is our chair is not able to be with us today, and I have Mr. Tung Chan here. Actually, Mr. Chan was the vice-president of S.U.C.C.E.S.S.
5227 So I would just like to start giving you a little bit of background about S.U.C.C.E.S.S. with a full name, which you mentioned earlier.
5228 S.U.C.C.E.S.S., in fact, currently is the largest community organization in the Chinese community in B.C. We have a $10 million budget. We service people throughout the Lower Mainland in 15 locations. Service is provided by 240 professional staff with over 7,000 volunteers. Actually, we served around 260,000 clients last year.
5229 However, our target groups are not just the Chinese community. In fact, about 20 per cent of our clientele are from the multicultural background, and actually about 50,000 of them are from -- you know, they speak different languages as well. So we have a very strong support from the community and very close contact. We are very keenly interested about multicultural television broadcasting.
5230 Our pledge for support for LMTV's application may be explained in three major perspectives.
5231 First of all, it is regarding accessibility to services. We feel that, you know, with like very much a culturally diverse community we need to establish a free, local television station devoted to multilingual and multicultural programming.
5232 In the Chinese community, definitely, ethnic programming is very important as a significant number of people in our community do not speak English or are not proficient in the English language. So access to information through television as ethnic television programming will help them have a better understanding of Canadian customs and Canadian way of life, so it would help them integrate in the community better.
5233 LMTV's proposal for enhanced multilingual news and information programming is important. That desire has been expressed by a number of people in our community.
5234 Currently, the Fairchild TV and the Talentvision stations have served the Chinese community very well with ethnic programming in both Cantonese and Mandarin. It is just that some of the viewers have to pay additional subscription fees to gain access to these TV programs and this may have deterred many immigrant families from accessing ethnic TV programming which basically helps them integrate in the community, in the Canadian community.
5235 We estimate there are about 80,000 Chinese families in the Lower Mainland, and about two-thirds of them may not be able to access ethnic TV programming. With the recent influx of immigrants from China, especially, we feel that there is less willingness to pay the subscription fee.
5236 Also, of course, in the Census in 1976 it shows -- in 1996 -- 8.5 per cent of the population in Toronto are Chinese and 16 per cent of the population in Vancouver are of Chinese origin. But in Toronto there is CFMT which serves -- provides free over-the-air ethnic programming for the Chinese community and I think Vancouver is just fair that we have free over-the-air ethnic television programs.
5237 The second issue has to do with diversity in programming, that we need to provide choices for viewers. We realize that not -- that many of the Chinese families here do subscribe to Fairchild TV and it seems that there are some people who may prefer to have some choices in Canadian television programs in third languages.
5238 Also, we look at the editorial diversity, that they need a choice to hear editorial comments, say about the boat people, for example, not just from maybe one ethnic TV programming channel that may be also from the LMTV when established.
5239 A third issue has to do with the advantage of cross-cultural programming.
5240 We support LMTV's proposal to broadcast 60 per cent of its programming in various languages with the remaining 40 per cent in English. They talk about developing programs to promote multicultural and cross-cultural understanding which -- also they talk about programs which will provide opportunities for cross-cultural communication and increased understanding within the population at large.
5241 For the second and third-generation Chinese Canadians like my son who cannot read or write Chinese, who can barely understand or speak Cantonese, being able to access both the Chinese TV programming as well as the English multicultural programming at LMTV would help, you know, give him a better sense of identity in the community as well.
5242 So in general, we basically pledge our support for LMTV as it provides a choice for viewers. It is free over the air which would provide better access and also provides advantages of cross-cultural programming for our multicultural community.
5243 Thank you.
5244 MR. TUNG CHAN: Thank you, Madam Chair.
5245 You have heard an introduction of me as a former Vice-President of S.U.C.C.E.S.S. If you will allow me for a few seconds more introduce myself. I understand it is customary, Madam Chair and Commissioners, to establish credibility, so it is with that in mind that I am rattling away on what I do. So with a heavy dose of humility and modesty, if you would bear with me.
5246 I am not only a former Vice-President of S.U.C.C.E.S.S., I am also a former councillor for the City of Vancouver. I am also a former President of the Vancouver Non-Partisan Association and currently still a Director of the Non-Partisan Association of Vancouver. It is the current governing party of the City of Vancouver.
5247 In the general community, I am currently Honourary Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. I am also a member of the Chinese Advisory Committee, Chair, and a former Director of the United Way of Lower Mainland. I am also a member of the Development and Advisory Committee of the Vancouver Foundation.
5248 In the Chinese Canadian community, I currently serve as a chair -- and you might have some interest in this -- Chair of the Fairchild TV Advisory Committee. I am Advisor of the Trident Enrichment Society and I am also Chair of the Chuen Ying -- Honourary Advisor of the Chuen Ying Arts Centre. I can go on and on but I will stop here in respect of time.
5249 What I want to do is that I want to establish that I have contacts both within and outside the Chinese Canadian community. Professionally, I am a banker. I am a Senior Banker with a chartered bank and for the last nine years, I have been responsible for increasing that bank's penetration of the Asian market in Vancouver.
5250 But I would like to point out one thing, though, is that I am here today not speaking on behalf of any of the groups that I mentioned to you, but I am here more a person interested in this event and interested in the serving of the ethnocultural communities in Vancouver.
5251 You have heard a lot of talk about the changing demographics of Vancouver, but I would like to put it in a slightly different direction and spin for you to look at. In B.C., four out of five new arrivals in the Lower Mainland were from Asian background. They tend to speak their mother tongue at home.
5252 Give you some examples. Based on 1996 Census, the ratio of English speaking to Chinese speaking home languages in Vancouver is three to one. In Burnaby it is about four to one and in Richmond it is close to two to one. Not only that, many newcomers between 1991 and 1995, roughly 50 per cent of them coming into B.C. do not have the ability to speak English. So I think it is important that Commissioners, that you note that there is a huge need for more choice in non-English TV programming. That is the general aspect of it.
5253 I have a personal crusade here too. I am speaking also on behalf of my mother. Last Saturday my 80-year old mother was watching TV, and she is very happy watching Fairchild TV. She knows that I am on the Advisory Committee and Chair of Fairchild TV. She says: "Son, you have done a really good job. Fairchild has done a really good job in giving me really good programming. It is fantastic. But, son, I know you are also going to talk to the CRTC about this application of LMTV. Tell them. Tell them that I want some choice. You, who understand English, have 77 channels. I speak only Chinese." She is 80, remember. She says: "I want some more choice."
5254 So that is why I am here, speaking on her behalf.
5255 MS VOGEL: Again, I'm very sorry to interrupt but we are well past the 10 minutes. Could you wrap up, please.
5256 MR. TUNG CHAN: Thank you.
5257 The other situation that I think is important, that is that in the English programming I was involved with several programs and one program in particular is broadcast in English. It is made for and by Chinese Canadians in English to Chinese Canadians in English. It is called "Pender Guy."
5258 It is important that, as Lilian mentioned, that there are people who are second generation that need to know more about their community and need to know about their roots; that if the CRTC Commission see fit to approve any new programming they should have a mechanism to encourage them to produce English programming for not only the second generation, but also for other people who speak English but who want to understand other programming.
5259 You heard mention that the Vancouver Sun now routinely translate ethnic newspapers into English and publish it. That idea was from me. I wrote them the letter in 1993 when I was a councillor. I told them that is a good idea and I hope that CRTC would also look into that and think that is also a good idea.
5260 Thank you.
5261 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
5262 MR. TUNG CHAN: I have some statistics here for you.
5263 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Oh, thank you. Tell your mother that you talked to the CRTC with a lot of conviction. No problems there.
5264 Thank you, and thank you, madam.
5265 MS VOGEL: And could you drop your statistics off at the table on your way by, please?
5266 MR. TUNG CHAN: I will do that. Thank you.
5267 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor this afternoon is Tokmakov Productions.
5268 Could you come forward, please?
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5269 MR. TOKMAKOV(ph): (Through Interpreter): Good afternoon. I would like to use the services of my interpreter today to interpret my presentation.
5270 We are, of course, aware of the time limits here and we hope that you will understand that it is probably going to be a little bit longer.
5271 I am very pleased that I am here in front of the federal commission and will be able to speak my native language, which is Russian. I hope that I will express the opinion of all independent producers who had the opportunity to broadcast in their native languages.
5272 My name is Valeri. I am Valeri Tokmakov. I was born in the former Soviet Union, in Moscow City. I am Russian by origin but not by my image. I have nothing to do with Mafia, with criminal circles and with new Russians, as you probably know this term.
5273 I have been working for television for 30 years. I probably correct myself; it is not work, it is the style of my life. For 20 years I worked for the state, the former Soviet Union Television Committee. And for the last ten years I have been working in Canada in CFMT.
5274 Today during the recess I was walking around Canada Place and I looked at the fountain. There are two continents there: America and Asia. So I found Cukotskij. They are our neighbours. It is very close to Canada. Eighteen years ago I was in Cukotskij on my business trip, and I did some shots with the military bases. There are a lot of nuclear submarines there, some missiles and planes. They are the eastern border with the United States.
5275 So I was standing there looking at the United States, and it was really a very difficult time, the Cold War time, and the Soviet Union was in big isolation. At that time, if somebody would tell me that some time in the future I would be sitting here and speaking in front of such honourable commission, I wouldn't believe it.
5276 When we moved to Canada, I and my wife, who is also a journalist, we were absolutely sure that we won't be able to do our profession here. And when CFMT offered me this opportunity to broadcast in Russian, I could hardly believe it. That is how my second biography started some time ago. So we were accepted to Canadian Ethnical Journalists and Writers Club. We have been working for ten years for Rogers' channel. The experience working with this channel is really very helpful to work with the Russian community here in Canada.
5277 I know for sure that if any event is not broadcast on TV, that means that this event does not exist for the community. It is a fact that before I got the opportunity to...
--- Technical difficulties / Problèmes techniques
5278 ...because they need to earn for their living, for their lives, for their apartments, for holidays, et cetera. So they have to sacrifice a lot of things. And one of the sacrifices is language, the Russian language.
5279 Russians have a joke that Canada is kind of prison with very good food in it.
5280 After the collapsing of the former Soviet Union, a lot of people made the decision to emigrate to Canada. People who emigrate now are not refugees any more, not those people who came here were not even to get welfare. Now it is different immigration. It is professional immigration, independent immigration.
5281 Coming back to the Russian language, these people come here and again they have to sacrifice their knowledge of Russian because they need to go to get some job and of course they need to switch to English. So the only opportunity for them is to read Canadian English-language newspapers and see only English broadcasting.
5282 The information they can get only through Russian channels. That is why the program we broadcast is really very popular among the Russian community, and Russian people really look forward to any new program that we introduce.
5283 I would like to give you some joke.
5284 New York, Brighton Beach, a lot of people from the former Soviet Union live there, a big Russian community. So there are two Russian friends just talking to each other. One Russian says: "I have been working so hard trying to learn the English language, but it is so difficult I fail." The other asks: "Why do you need to learn the English language? When you go shopping, you meet the shop assistant who speaks Russian. When you need to fix your car, you just see Russian person. When you need to see doctor, there is a Russian doctor here. And even when you go to the restaurant, you see Russians there." At that very moment a taxi stops just next to them. An American taxi driver shows up and ask them something in English. Both Russians do not understand and shake their heads. So the taxi driver left and the two Russians look at each other and ask: "Do you think his English language really helps him here?"
--- Laughter / Rires
5285 MR. TOKMAKOV: This is a joke, but if you think about that, it is a very serious problem.
5286 In Toronto, in North York, a big Russian community, lots of people who hardly can speak English live there. The same situation is in Ottawa, in Montreal and Vancouver. I know that in Vancouver the Russian community now is about 30,000 people. So my visit to Vancouver this time is also because I would like to get some material about the Chinese immigration and immigration --
5287 MS VOGEL: I am sorry to interrupt, but we are past the ten minutes.
5288 MR. TOKMAKOV: Two months ago the Russian community was really shocked by the murder of a Russian teenager. What happened, the police were really helpless because they couldn't really negotiate and understand the situation without speaking to the Russian people. That's why they addressed their program to get some information through their channel.
5289 It was not the first time when Canadian police had to address the Russian media to get some information. Canadian governmental organizations and social organizations also very often address the Russian community on some issues.
5290 I know that my time is limited. I would like to say that when Canada gives every person the right of choice, I must say that this country is really a great country. I would like to thank Canada for giving the opportunity to such channel as CFMT to give opportunity to any nationality and people of any origin to feel comfortable.
5291 Thank you very much for your attention.
5292 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Merci beaucoup.
5293 Madam Secretary, please.
5294 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor this afternoon is Gurnam Singh Ranu.
5295 Please come forward.
5296 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good afternoon.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5297 MR. RANU: Good afternoon, Madam Chair and Members of the Panel of the CRTC Commission.
5298 My name is Gurnam Singh Ranu. I am here today to give my support to the proposal for a new multicultural and multilingual station LMTV for the Lower Mainland and Victoria.
5299 My wife had a heart attack on Friday. She is in hospital. I have come here for a short time to give my support for this multicultural channel.
5300 As my background, I retired as a master of a high school in India, and I had 31 years of wonderful and challenging years in the education field. I taught English and social studies to the high classes for 31 years. I immigrated. I have a Masters degree in history, which includes European history, British history, and in B.A. I did my political science and economics. I have thoroughly studied the constitution of Canada in India. This is all my Indian education.
5301 I have up to B.A. in Punjabi, my mother tongue, and a Bachelor of Teaching degree that is of Indian origin.
5302 I immigrated to Canada in 1985 and worked in various fields to support myself and my family. I worked as a farm worker, security guard and interpreter and translator in English to Punjabi for the City Council of Vancouver. And as a volunteer, I am deeply involved. I am a member of the Special Advisory Committee on Seniors, the Vancouver City Council. I am a member of the Cross Cultural Society Network. Also at the Sunset Community Centre every Thursday afternoon for three hours about 100 Indo-Canadian seniors from the Lower Mainland, including Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond, North Vancouver and Vancouver, meet and most of them do not understand what is going on here in Canada.
5303 They have a language problem. Although there are programs, they are very little or short. So I think this void will be filled by LMTV. I am their ears and eyes. I am very much interested. I read daily two or three newspapers. I watch TV. I am interested in our background. But the second generation want to know who is Ujjal Dosanjh, the new Premier of B.C., who is Herb Dhaliwal. What are their roots?
5304 The second generation want to know. The seniors want to know. But I think there is a void.
5305 I will quote from the Bible:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
5306 Everything that has been made was made by God. The same thing is said in the Holy Scripture:
--- Foreign language spoken / Langue étrangère parlée
5307 Our source is the same. We are the drop in the ocean. We believe in fatherhood of the Lord and brotherhood of men. That is really what Canada is.
5308 Every culture is allowed, but the difficulty here is that when I watch TV programs with my wife she doesn't always wants to watch because she does not understand. Most of the programs are in English. We want our program, our history, our culture shown, which I expect LMTV will keep its promise. We will be connected to our roots. We will also become a global citizen, a true citizen of Canada. We will give true input to Canada if we understand our neighbour, his language, his culture, and his way of life.
5309 I really support, if they keep their promise to broadcast 60 per cent of their programs in ethnic languages. They show the history.
5310 I quote Einstein about Mahatma Ghandi:
"He was an ordinary man. He rose step by step, each step not bigger than the ordinary man's step. When you see him on the heights of the glory, generations to come may hardly believe that such a person ever walked upon this earth."
5311 So they want to know how he rose step by step from a millworker, from a saw mill worker, from a lawyer, to be a premier. They want to know their roots and that will be great inspiration to the second generation. They will be in touch with their mother tongue, also Canadian. They will be in a true sense, not only a world class citizen, a global citizen. They can contribute a lot, not only economically to this country, but also a rich heritage which they bring to this country.
5312 So LMTV, I think, will provide all this which I advocate. Thank you very much.
5313 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much, sir.
5314 Madam Secretary.
5315 MS VOGEL: I would like to call Nirvana Films, with Sanaa Currim; Crossroads Productions Inc., with Carmen Henriquez and Denis Paquette.
5316 Could you come forward, please.
5317 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good afternoon. We remind you that you have ten minutes to share.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5318 MR. PAQUETTE: Good afternoon. I am a partner and producer in Real World Films. We are pleased to provide our support to LMTV's application for a multicultural and multilingual station. We say this for two reasons, the first of which I will discuss.
5319 My business partner Carmen and I met at film school here in Vancouver five years ago, and fortunately for us we shared a passion for telling real life human stories; hence the name of our company, Real World Films.
5320 Although we grew up 6,000 miles apart, we have learned that we are not so different. I am Métis from Winnipeg and she grew up from Matouchi(ph) Indian descent in Chile. So it is not surprising that the bulk of efforts are about examining cultures, about the differences in people and about the need to speak in more languages than English.
5321 While socially introspective documentaries and films are a passion and the success of Real World Films our ultimate aim, Carmen and I have had no other choice but to build a parallel business -- one that produces a broad sweep of corporate and educational media. Practically speaking, this is what keeps us financially viable and has maintained our vision and belief in Real World Films.
5322 Today we also produce a broad range of film, video and interactive content. More importantly, we have witnessed first hand the value and market potential of our ongoing programming and content in the global economy.
5323 Since we are a fully English-Spanish production company, our current business and prospects reside not just in Canada but throughout Latin America and the Spanish-speaking world. We have come to realize that the success of our business is not only about film making but about bridging languages, cultures and international commerce.
5324 That is ultimately the first reason why we support LMTV's application. They are prepared to recognize the value of multicultural perspectives, support multilingual media, and create opportunities for film makers that look at Canada from a broader perspective.
5325 They are in effect illustrating what has taken us five years to learn. Canadian stories, Canadian film makers and Canadian production companies can and should thrive in foreign markets. Canadian stories are internationally marketable. LMTV's application doesn't just offer multicultural values from our perspective; it offers opportunity.
5326 MS HENRIQUEZ: I am Carmen Henriquez, and I am a partner and producer in Real World Films. As Denis said, I grew up in Concepcion, Chile and until my early twenties I lived under a strict military régime that didn't allow free speech, and governed with violence.
5327 Things are somewhat different right now, but the facts remain. If I still lived in Chile, as a woman and film maker, I guarantee you I wouldn't be doing what I have the privilege of doing in Canada today.
5328 Right or wrong, difficult or not, our company has chosen to pursue stories and make documentaries we feel compelled to do, stories that we believe in. However, because of the international flavour of our company's identity, our documentaries sometimes run in direct conflict with the existing guidelines for Canadian content.
5329 In short, we focus on telling the stories from a profoundly Canadian perspective, not necessarily Canadiana. The challenge for us then becomes how to fund stories that may be set internationally; more importantly, how can we sell them in Canada?
5330 LMTV's application provides a fundamental outlet and appreciation for the multicultural nature of our stories and of our country. In short, they provide a concrete vehicle to let the unique nature of our film making voice be heard.
5331 As an ethnic film maker, you have no idea how important and how reassuring that possibility is.
5332 A great deal of the content we currently produce is directed at ethnically and socially diverse audiences. For me, this was only obvious. Not so long ago, I was a newcomer to Canada, and my Canadian experience will always be different than my business partner.
5333 Our current Real World documentary is entitled "Searching for Pinochet". In this one-hour television documentary, Denis and I are chronicling my journey back to Chile to reunite with my family and my country. Leaving Chile was not an option. I left 11 years ago because of political persecution. But because the majority of this documentary won't be shown in Canada, we face obstacles in selling and financing this show because it is not overtly defined as Canadian content.
5334 But I assure you that you won't find a more Canadian story, told from a more Canadian point of view. I am a taxpayer, married a Canadian, own and operate a business here; and quite frankly, I can't imagine life outside of Canada.
5335 I believe it is essential that we tell this story since too many people in Canada take for granted what they are born into: freedom of expression, gender equality, and as good a chance as anywhere else in the world to make your passion a reality.
5336 "Searching for Pinochet" is my story. But I assure you that there are hundreds of thousands of other Canadians who share the same journey, the same perspective and the same gratitude I have on what it means to be Canadian.
5337 "Searching for Pinochet" is not a historical documentary, nor is it a political story. It is a story of a family that was forced to live through political discrimination, persecution, and imprisonment. It is the story of my family.
5338 My point of view and our passion for this story simply would not exist without my Canadian experience and my Canadian identity. Unlike my years in Chile and now as a Canadian today, I know I have a say in my destiny. It has taken me 12 years living as a Canadian to truly appreciate my country's and my family's ordeal. That is why we want to make this documentary. That is why we need LMTV.
5339 I would be lying if I said that, as documentary film makers, we are not obviously attracted and motivated by LMTV's financial commitment to their proposed documentary stand, but at the end of the day that is not why we are here. They appreciate my story and understand the vital overlay this has on Canada.
5340 We see LMTV's proposed licence as a vibrant opportunity to expose Canadians to high-quality documentary programming that speak to us in various languages and to share the multicultural fabric that I cherish as Canada.
5341 MR. CURRIM: Good afternoon. My name is Art Currim of Nirvana Films. With me is my partner Sanaa Currim. We speak today as independent documentary film makers, as well as members of a visible minority.
5342 We have been producing documentaries and social interest videos since 1987, first in India and now what you could call as emerging Canadian film makers.
5343 Our projects have invariably been driven by a strong social and political awareness. These values have been refined and tested through our productions for the BBC, Oxfam and others.
5344 What is our point of view? We have always been galvanized by issues of social justice and the abolishment of stereotypes. Therefore, we have long felt the bitter irony and the injustice that visible minorities in Canada have been disproportionately represented and type casted by mass media.
5345 As relatively recent immigrants, we face the inevitable struggle to identify the similarities that we share with other Canadians, even as we recognize the ways in which differ.
5346 MS CURRIM: Why do we feel the need for a multicultural channel?
5347 Every culture needs a looking glass. Every ethnic group has a history, a wealth of culture, expectations, and most of all an identity. Television has the power, indeed the responsibility, to be that looking glass.
5348 Some see the identity reflected in television. Watching programs like "Anne of Green Gables", many see their backgrounds and values strongly reflected, enhancing their sense of identity of similarity of belonging. This is a welcome though limiting view of what constitutes Canadian identity.
5349 All too often visible minorities see their cultures parodied or stereotyped. Even worse, others are left unrepresented or receive issue-based attention. When there are gang wars, temple conflicts, issues about monster homes in Vancouver, the visible minorities are dragged into the spotlight and then benched to await their next turn. The truth is visible minorities are not outsiders.
5350 Over the last few decades the Canadian landscape has changed. Sadly, television no longer accurately reflects our varied culture.
5351 Canada is now home to a bewildering variety of ethnic groups. Many of these cultures are thousands of years old and have much to share. Again, the blending of cultures and challenges and issues this creates requires a venue in which these issues can be examined and dealt with. Indeed, a multicultural channel would be an ideal venue to raise awareness and tolerance.
5352 Globally, countries are struggling with issues of tolerance and acceptance. Our documentary about India and how the politics of hate, greed, and corruption has destroyed the world's biggest democracy highlights these issues. The relevance of such topics to our youth and future generation decisionmakers is obvious.
5353 In Toronto people of varied ethnic backgrounds turn to the multicultural channel CFMT to keep them connected. It is their window to the world, a comfort zone that lends familiarity and a sense of home. Vancouver's multicultural community needs this too.
5354 Many of our children today lack a cultural context with which they can identify. At Christmas or Thanksgiving television plays a crucial role, adding to the sense of excitement and family with stories, songs, images and memories. Minorities, too, need a venue through which they may communicate this excitement for their celebrations and festivals.
5355 Without icons and images to reinforce our cultures, they risk extinction. Our children will be denied the validation and sense of belonging, of knowing there are others who celebrate the same occasions, others who identify with the same traditional music and dances, the same language and customs.
5356 We grew up in Bombay, one of the world's most multicultural and multilinguist cities and we speak seven languages. We cannot stress the importance of television and understanding nuances of other cultures and in reinforcement of language.
5357 MS VOGEL: Excuse me. We are past the ten minutes. Could you wrap up, please.
5358 MS CURRIM: Sure.
5359 MS VOGEL: Thank you.
5360 MR. CURRIM: We are ambitious. We dream of an expanded Canadian experience, of a Canada that has brought into the mainstream the sensibilities that cultural minorities have had to keep to themselves too long.
5361 There are many Canadian stories that need to be told, many cultures that need to celebrate their diversity, and many audiences who need to be part of the changing face of Canada. But first we need agencies that will champion this change.
5362 We believe that by laying the foundation for a multi-ethnic station with its heady mix of cultures, views and emotions, the new LMTV channel proposed by Rogers will be a move in the right direction.
5363 Thank you very much for this opportunity. Good afternoon.
5364 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Merci beaucoup; muchos gracias; thank you.
5365 Madam Secretary.
5366 MS VOGEL: I would like to call Balwant Singh Gill to come forward.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5367 MR. GILL: Madam Chair and Members of the Commission, good afternoon. My name is Balwant Singh Gill, and I am President of Gurnan(ph) Sikh Temple Society here in Surrey, British Columbia. I am also the spokesperson for 35 Sikh societies across the province. I am also a member of the Human Rights Advisory Council of British Columbia.
5368 Mr. Malkit Singh Athwal of 1930 - 8171 Ackroyd Road, Richmond has asked me to appear before the Commission today on his behalf because he is away and therefore not available and able to attend. Mr. Adwal asked me to express to the Commission his wholehearted support for the CFVT application.
5369 Both Mr. Athwal and I have known for a long time that the spiritual needs of our Sikh communities are not being met by the television channels now available. This is especially the case in the Fraser Valley. Occasionally when the media does cover our community, our views are often distorted. Worse yet, our religious expressions are routinely curtailed and marginalized.
5370 The CFVT application is like a breath of fresh air. As a Christian broadcaster, the applicant, Trinity Television of Winnipeg has an excellent record of extending goodwill to people of diverse religious and racial backgrounds.
5371 We appreciate their willingness to build bridges across the religious and culture lines. We also applaud their sensitivity, the spiritual and religious needs of the various faith communities. We are pleased that CFVT will feature at least 18 hours of multi faith programming each week, especially when that includes 12-1/2 prime time hours, Monday to Friday, and other Saturday time slots.
5372 There are plentiful local talents within our community who have both the skills and experience to produce programming that will serve the needs of our people and bring credit to our Sikh faith. We are excited about the opportunity to discuss our viewpoints on various religious issues of our faith groups in a non-adversarial, non-condescending and mutually respectful environment that CFVT will support.
5373 We are ready and willing to have our representative participate in CFVT's programming balance committee to make sure that views are exposed to the wide range of viewpoints on religious and other related issues.
5374 Faith is a delicate and utterly important matter that ought not be left in the control of thoroughly commercial interests. More often than not, it is selfish profit motives that are the instigator of religious conflicts. It is the commercial exploitation and manipulation of religious differences that cause intolerance and unrest in society.
5375 About a year ago a religious television channel in Ontario was approved by CRTC. Now Lethbridge, Alberta also has their local religious channel.
5376 Members of the Commission, Mr. Athwal and I respectfully ask that you approve Trinity Television's application so that we too can finally have our own local television station in the Fraser Valley; so that we can produce our own programs locally that meet the needs of our people; so that we won't be left at the mercy of others who don't understand nor seem to care about our needs; and so that programs produced back east are no longer the only choice.
5377 Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address the Commission today.
5378 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much, sir.
5379 Madam Secretary.
5380 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor this afternoon is M.Y. Ibrahim.
5381 Would you come forward, please.
--- Pause / Pause
5382 MS VOGEL: I will re-call that intervenor later.
5383 I would now like to invite the Canadian Association of Media Organizations and Jesuit Community Project to come forward with their intervention.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5384 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good afternoon.
5385 MR. PUNGENTE: Good afternoon. I should correct a misinterpretation. I am representing the Canadian Association of Media Education Organizations and the Jesuit Communication Project. It is just a mistyping on there.
5386 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you.
5387 MR. PUNGENTE: It makes a difference; yes, it does.
5388 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Yes, because there is another organization that has somewhat of a similar title. But there are no Jesuits, as far as we know.
5389 MR. PUNGENTE: No. I am the only Jesuit in the room, as far as I know.
5390 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Welcome.
5391 MR. PUNGENTE: Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
5392 My name is John Pungente, and I am a Jesuit. I am also an educator, an author, a broadcaster, and for the past 35 years a media literacy advisor, advocate and national and international advocate.
5393 I am here today as President of the Canadian Association of Media Education Organizations (CAMEO) which counts the British Columbia media education organization as a founding member. I speak on their behalf with the support of the other members of CAMEO in favour of CHUM's Victoria application.
5394 CHUM television stands out as the major supporter of media literacy in Canada. Media literacy -- which provides people with an informed and critical understanding of the nature, the technique and the impact of the mass media -- is now a mandated part of the Language Arts curriculum across the country. Every school child will know about the media. And thanks to the CRTC Commission for helping push this.
5395 This is no small accomplishment. Canada is ranked third in the world, just behind Australia and Great Britain in this area. While it is one thing to legislate this into existence, it is another thing to make it happen.
5396 As we all know, the provinces, for various reasons, have made significant cuts in funding to the schools and the schools have had to turn elsewhere for help in this work.
5397 CHUM has been at the forefront of this, and CHUM's support has taken many forms. Much of it has been developed over a number of years in relationship with Canadian media education organizations across Canada and with the Jesuit communication project, and for many years CHUM has been a strong supporter of media education, first of all, through its programming: MediaTelevision, MovieTelevision, MuchMusic's MuchMediaLit, Scanning the Movies and special editions of The NewMusic.
5398 CHUM is also a founding member of Cable in the Classroom. It encourages and supports media literacy work, and CHUM has provided initial seed money to the National Film Board of Canada to start the Media Awareness Network.
5399 CHUM began producing and distributing MuchMusic's media education programming in the 1980s.
5400 CHUM has demonstrated time and again that their interest in media education is a serious and concerned one. They feel that as producers of media they have an obligation to help people understand the product and become intelligent, informed consumers. Canadian media educators have been fortunate in this partnership, which has been most beneficial to the development of media education in Canada.
5401 CHUM's station in Victoria will help extend this partnership. CHUM will begin this partnership by making happen that all-important next step in media education on the Island -- the training of teachers at the local level through workshops and summer or night schools.
5402 CHUM has developed a model for a partnership between media professionals and media educators that could take place in every other country around the world. In fact, last spring CHUM was invited by UNESCO to attend a conference in Vienna to explain to other countries just how this works. That was a very successful meeting.
5403 Over the past ten years I have worked with the Island teachers and given workshops in Victoria and Nanaimo and have spoken at length with the need for teacher training with various B.C. Ministry of Education officials and the British Columbia Teachers Federation.
5404 The need is urgent, and CHUM is helping to fulfil that need.
5405 CHUM has demonstrated how this works with their other local stations in Ontario, and I have been part of that. CHUM has also helped out here in Vancouver and Victoria with workshops for teachers.
5406 CHUM works with educators to design study guides to go with their programming, and this is most important.
5407 One of the most significant aspects that CHUM has developed in media education to make this work is very simply to name a senior executive in charge of media education. This is the first time this has been done by any network anywhere in the world. This has been going on for a number of years, and it is an historical and important step for media education.
5408 At the same time CHUM is working on a new project to help train teachers through the use of the Internet, and CHUM is a major sponsor -- in fact, the major sponsor -- for media education at a conference called Summit 2000: Children, Youth and The Media -- which I am sure you know about, Madam Chair -- that will be held in Toronto, and of which I am one of the organizers. I am really very pleased to see CHUM as a supporter of this.
5409 There will be representatives, of course, from the B.C. educational community there, and we are very pleased to announce that, as part of the aboriginal component of the summit, two aboriginal teachers from the Saanich Board on Vancouver Island will be there as presenters.
5410 This partnership between CHUM and Canadian media educators across Canada has grown over the years since the 1980s. CAMEO looks forward to developing this partnership even further in Victoria and across the Island.
5411 Thank you very much for the honour.
5412 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you. Did you say that the Summit was in Toronto?
5413 MR. PUNGENTE: Yes, Summit 2000 in Toronto May 13th to 17th.
5414 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: I thought it was in Vancouver.
5415 MR. PUNGENTE: No. There is another conference following that. I would be happy to leave you with a copy of the program, because we think the CRTC ought to be attending as well.
5416 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: I thought you were referring to the one that will be held later on in May in Vancouver.
5417 MR. PUNGENTE: Yes. That is the week after ours. That is a conference to sell people product. Our conference will bring together for the first time the people who teach about the media with the people who make the media.
5418 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you.
5419 MR. PUNGENTE: Thank you very much.
5420 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Madam Secretary.
5421 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor this afternoon is the Port Theatre, with Karen Killeen; and the Nanaimo Art Gallery, with Carmela Tang.
5422 Would you come forward, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5423 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good afternoon.
5424 MS TANG: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Carmela Tang, and I am here as the President of the Nanaimo Art Gallery. I am also President of the Centre for the Arts Nanaimo, and I am chair of the Short-term Action Committee for the City of Nanaimo Downtown Strategy Team.
5425 Roughly six weeks ago, in response to a widely circulated public invitation, I attended a presentation by CHUM about this application to you. I was very impressed by the knowledge of their team, not only about the business of television, but about what they knew about the needs of Nanaimo and the Island.
5426 These people had done their homework before coming, but they were still interested in hearing more about us. After the formal part of the gathering -- if there is anything formal about these people -- we all had the opportunity to bend their ear even further. And then, to our great surprise, three members of their team, including Mr. Moses Znaimer, accepted our offer to stroll through the downtown core and to hear about our plans for its revitalization, using arts, culture and entertainment as an economic driver, and of course the role that CHUM could play in those plans.
5427 Their interest was genuine and their time was generous.
5428 I must tell you that while I knew of CHUM TV and their eclectic collection of stations, I had no information on their people. But as we all know, we often learn about today's world of communications from our children. It was my son who told me about Moses Znaimer and his accomplishments. He called him the young people's media guru.
5429 My son's enthusiasm led me to research more about this group, their commitment to relatively small local markets and the level of follow-through on their promises; in other words, their track record.
5430 My findings have brought me here today before you, supporting their application.
5431 One hundred and four new jobs: Nanaimo and the Island needs that. Original local programming: we need that. Shows dedicated to aboriginal B.C. issues: we definitely need that. A permanent Nanaimo bureau with coverage of Vancouver Island news and events: we surely need that. Development and promotion of Canadian feature film, drama, documentaries, local arts and culture: boy, do we need that.
5432 They have offered several other things, and we need those too.
5433 But in order to meet the needs of Nanaimo and Vancouver Island, CHUM needs a licence for a Victoria-based TV station, and only you can provide that.
5434 Our traditional economies on the Island are lost, and our new economy of arts and culture, and in particular our unique brand of Canadian culture from the Island is neglected. CHUM, with its affiliated stations, promised to be the best media vehicle available to us to meet our needs.
5435 Please help us to help ourselves by granting CHUM the application. Thank you.
5436 MS KILLEEN: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Karen Killeen. I am the General Manager of the Port Theatre in Nanaimo.
5437 The Port Theatre is an 800-seat live entertainment facility which just recently opened in the fall of 1998. The most important fact I would like to share with you about the facility is that it was built through the determination of a group of volunteers, who for over ten years officially, and 25 years unofficially, fought to make this dream a reality for the citizens of Nanaimo and a very large portion of the Island that we now serve.
5438 They built it. They raised the $12.9 million to pay for it, and I have the pleasure of working for this incredible group.
5439 In only a year and a half of operation we have surpassed our greatest expectations with respect to the number of events, attendance and successful programming, including financially successful. We were recently nominated in the category Best Performing Arts Venue Under 1500 Seats in the country in the upcoming Canadian Music Week Conference to be held later next week in Toronto.
5440 To have achieved all this without the benefit of any television media exposure, editorial or advertising possibilities, is an incredible feat in itself. I am here to tell you that Nanaimo desperately needs the support of a station that will pay attention to its residents, that will pay attention to its unique place on Vancouver Island....
--- Technical difficulties / Problèmes techniques
5441 ...relative to the grassroots of the neighbourhood in which they reside. In October of 1999, Nanaimo's hometown artist, Diana Krall, performed the last two concerts of her Canadian tour at the Port Theatre. Through Bravo!, the CHUM organization produced a full special on Diana and her roots. Included in this production were many Nanaimo faces and places.
5442 CHUM offered the Port Theatre the opportunity to shoot a commercial spot, if you will, which will be aired throughout the upcoming year. This spot, by the way, had nothing to do with Diana Krall, but rather gave me the opportunity to nationally advertise our own upcoming events, some of which were local and amateur events from our community that would never dream of having exposure on this kind of level.
5443 Just last week I received word from a colleague in Ontario who had just seen a spot. So for a theatre in a community the size of Nanaimo, this is certainly unprecedented.
5444 Nanaimo's downtown core has experienced the same deterioration common to many centres over the last few years. Our attempt to breathe life into our city centre is demonstrated by our community creation of the Port Theatre and the new arts development that my colleague Carmela has described to you.
5445 Already the face of the city centre is changing. It is becoming more colourful, more youthful, and more vibrant. The introduction of a CHUM news bureau and the installation of a Speaker's Corner sets just the right tone for our city centre. Not only will this contribute to the economic growth of the downtown, but will also attract increased interest and traffic.
5446 Having spent time getting to know the CHUM organization and some of its personnel, I can attest to the fact that they too are definitely colourful, youthful and vibrant.
5447 In closing, I must express my respect for this organization for a number of reasons. They approached our community honestly. They did not promise things they knew they could not deliver. They conducted very open community consultations. And most importantly, I saw firsthand and experienced firsthand the respect they showed us.
5448 I have lived and worked in communities that have benefited from their approach and professionalism, and I beg you to allow us to do the same on Vancouver Island.
5449 Thank you.
5450 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
5451 Madam Secretary.
5452 MS VOGEL: Madam Chairperson, I have been informed that none of the intervenors that are remaining with regard to Item 4 are in the room, but we do have intervenors for Item 5.
5453 Will we proceed with Item 5?
5454 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Yes, for another half hour.
5455 MS VOGEL: Then I would like to invite High Road Productions Inc. and Tapestry Films Ltd. to come forward.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5456 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good afternoon.
5457 MS YOUNG LEEKIE: Good afternoon, Madam Chair and Members of the Board of the CRTC. It is my pleasure to appear before you today in person to testify on behalf of Craig Broadcasting Systems application for A-Channel on the Island.
5458 I followed the decisions of your Commission with great interest over the years since their impact on our industry is so incredibly profound. As an independent producer of film and television for over 15 years, I have had extensive experience with public and private broadcasters.
5459 In the summer of 1998 our companies was in the throes of financing what is to date our most ambitious and expensive mini-series, "The Avro Arrow". Our Manitoba co-producers and our company were trying to assemble a multiple tier broadcast licence in order to maximize licence fee opportunities for this kind of 100 per cent Canadian content.
5460 A-Channel's Drew Craig, previously unknown to us but well-known in the province of Manitoba, came forward as a supporter of Canadian drama and a nationalist and took an unprecedented step of sharing the licence in a second tier position with the CBC through the A-Channel Drama Fund.
5461 A-Channel's second window licence, combined with CBC's primary licence, enabled us to maximize the funding available for the 100 per cent Canadian content drama.
5462 With A-Channels' co-operative and innovative approach to multiple licence funding, the enormously popular Arrow was made. In excess of $7 million was spent in the province of Manitoba, employing several hundred skilled technicians and craftspeople. A relative small portion of the A-Channel Drama Fund represented a huge boost in the economy of the Manitoba film community and also brought us an incredible mini-series that continues to sell all over the world and give Canadians a chance to see themselves in a very real historical context.
5463 Two years ago, together with our Manitoba partners, the Buffalo Gow(ph) Productions, we again approached A-Channel with yet another Canadian classic, "Children of My Heart", a feature television movie based on the novel "Ces enfants de ma vie" by Franco-Manitoban author Gabrielle Roy. This is a project we had taken to both the CBC and SRC. The CBC said it was too French, and SRC said it was too English. And A-Channel said: "Let's do it. This is exactly the kind of project a Canadian film company should be doing."
5464 This time, through the A-Channel's Drama Fund Craig Broadcasting has taken the licence lead, and once again a truly unique Canadian story will make it to the small screen.
5465 Ladies and gentlemen, it is a big, big movie from a relatively small drama fund.
5466 It wasn't an easy road to follow. Cultural funds are hugely over-subscribed, and too often regional productions miss out in the shadow of the big series and bigger network demands. But A-Channel executives, Drew Craig and Joanne Levy, believed in the project and the desire of western audiences to see themselves in their stories.
5467 With their tenacious financial and moral support, together we weathered two years of funding battles and two big disappointments until the movie, which is now in the final stages of post-production, became a reality in the fall of last year.
5468 The big winners here are the A-Channel audiences and Canadian audiences, because eventually A-Channel will broadcast this and sell subsequent licences so that it has a national footprint.
5469 Canadian audiences will see a classic Manitoba story, with a classic Canadian cast, beautifully told and expertly rendered by Manitobans, Albertans and some of us from Ontario who managed to squeak in under the line.
5470 It is going to be a beautiful film. It is the kind of film that we should be making year after year. And again A-Channel has done two Canadian classics.
5471 A-Channel on the Island's application promises the same kind of commitment to west coast drama and priority programming. They will do it with long form drama; they will do it with episodic drama; and they will do it with long form documentary. I have seen it firsthand.
5472 The A-Channel on the Island's Priority Program Fund promises $11 million over seven years for drama and long form documentaries. I can tell you that it will be a lot more than $11 million that will be triggered.
5473 If the performance of the A-Channel Drama Fund in Alberta is any indicator, west coast Canadians will soon be seeing their own stories in profound and lasting programming in the very near future.
5474 Vancouver Island, I know, is one of the most appealing communities in the country. Its pristine ecology, its vibrant arts and culture, and its spectacular beauty make those of us in the flat, cold midlands green with envy. But when kids in Port Hardy or Tofino flick on their sets right now, they are much more likely to see the violent brutality of inner city Seattle or the empty values of Beverley Hills than a story that resonates with the sights and smells and sounds of their own world.
5475 I think producers in this coastal area should be rest assured that if A-Channel does get that licence, they will be telling their own stories, and they will be telling them in a very classy fashion.
5476 Every time another A-Channel station starts up, the community and audience it serves get more than their money's worth. The A-Channel is filling an ever-increasing void in regional programming that is being abandoned by the giant networks without a backward glance.
5477 The A-Channel imprint is fresh. It is distinctive. It is youthful. It is original. And it is authentically true to its regional audience. Vancouver Islanders will see themselves every day in the local and regional coverage in news and talk TV and variety programming. And the coastal region will very soon see themselves, as well as the rest of Canada, in the drama.
5478 I have watched A-Channel move into Calgary, into Edmonton, and into the Forks area of Winnipeg. They embrace the culture. They find the needs in the ethnic community and they reflect them. They make very young, very hip programming available in a local way.
5479 Today we are living in a world of cultural dominance from the U.S. and other markets larger than our own, and the role of Canadian broadcasters has never been more important. And in my opinion it has never been more scarce. A-Channel continues to commit themselves over and over again to that role.
5480 If we are to continue to grow and strengthen as a country -- and you can see my arrow so you know how passionate a nationalist you are dealing with, folks -- our kids, our audiences, and you and I need to see ourselves in our own stories from our own lands.
5481 A commitment to A-Channel on the Island is a commitment to the community of Vancouver Island, to western Canadian culture, and to Canada as a healthy diverse whole.
5482 I believe in A-Channel's vision for a network. They know their audience and they know their country. They are responsible cultural citizens of the airwaves. Vancouver Island will benefit enormously by their presence.
5483 I truly believe I represent a great portion of the independent film community in asking you to please support their application.
5484 Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your time.
5485 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much.
5486 MS YOUNG LEEKIE: Do you have any questions of me while I am here?
5487 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: No, thank you.
5488 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: We are going to put you down as undecided.
--- Laughter / Rires
5489 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: The only question I had was that arrow that I didn't know what you were talking about; I'm sorry.
5490 Madam Secretary.
5491 MS VOGEL: I would like to call the Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association, please; Gerry Cook.
--- Pause / Pause
5492 MS VOGEL: Seeing no one move, I would like to then call Smooth Productions, John Donnelly.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5493 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good evening.
5494 MR. DONNELLY: Good evening. Madam Chair and Commissioners, my name is John Donnelly. I am a Vancouver-based concert promoter and a producer of special events.
5495 My background includes 15 years as a performer, as well as 15 years now on the business side of music. So I am familiar with virtually all areas of the music business in Canada.
5496 I have had the opportunity to produce concerts and events in literally all markets right across the country, and I have had a chance to work with many broadcasters. I have worked with CBC and produced specials for them. I have done series of events for YTV. I have worked with MuchMusic many times over the years. And I have done lots of work with the Craigs.
5497 I am here to speak on behalf of Drew Craig and the A-Channel on the Island.
5498 Drew provided me with my chance to produce my first television special many years ago, which was sold nationally and went on to win a Canadian Association of Broadcasters Gold Ribbon Award for Best Canadian Talent Development Program, way back in 1990. But we developed a relationship on that show which has grown over the last ten years to include many specials, corporate promotions and recently the launch events for the three new A-Channel stations.
5499 Through these events and other projects I have produced, I have had a chance to watch the development of A-Channel's entertainment program and their promotion coverage.
5500 In September 1999, just recently, I produced a major event in downtown Calgary which was sponsored locally by A-Channel; and as well, it was sponsored nationally by MuchMusic. This show gave me a first-hand opportunity to see the A-Channel entertainment team in action.
5501 They provided a promotional schedule for the event we were working on. They helped us land some sponsorship deals. They featured some of the athletes and performers on their Big Breakfast Show in the morning. They did the five o'clock weather report from the top of our snowboard ramp that we built in downtown Calgary. They broadcast entertainment reports on their six o'clock news. And they went backstage for their ten o'clock wire program.
5502 So we really got support from them right across the board. It was a two-day event, so they came back for more the next day. It was really coverage above and beyond the call of duty, and I don't think this type of coverage is even considered by other local broadcasters for conventional television.
5503 Yet this coverage was extremely important to us, and I am pleased to report that this event was a huge success for us. What it did was it provided a good example of the type of support that A-Channel can give to local entertainment events.
5504 I have also produced and performed in shows on Vancouver Island. I am intimately familiar with CHEK-TV. As any of the concert promoters that work on Vancouver Island know, it is very difficult to obtain television support for local entertainment events on the Island.
5505 I know that House of Blues Concerts and some of the bigger players actually quite often overlook going to the Island because it is so hard to get support for events, yet there is really a huge list of talent and support for live music and for these types of events on Vancouver Island.
5506 I went through the Pacific Music Industry database this morning just to take a real look at it, and I found over 200 Vancouver Island performers listed in the database, 26 large festivals, and 82 live music venues on Vancouver Island.
5507 So there is lot of people working in this industry, yet they have been really ignored by the local television for so long that they don't even bother trying to contact CHEK-TV and get support for the events.
5508 CHEK used to have some features like Check Around. They at one point had an Island-based video show, but these services were cut long ago.
5509 I think what is going to happen is that once these promoters and artists discover the difference that a local station that is committed to supporting the arts and entertainment can make, it is really going to help boost the whole entertainment scene and the arts and entertainment community on Vancouver Island.
5510 The Craigs have proven to me that they know how to do this; they know how to take that energy and enthusiasm that they can put into an event and really make it work for the community.
5511 I am aware of the plans that have put into place as part of their proposals; their show "250" five nights a week, entertainment coverage, arts and entertainment support, "Entertainment West", which will be carried by all the A-Channel stations. Their "Big Breakfast Show" is a hit in Alberta. It has just been launched in Winnipeg. I think it will be a hit and good news for B.C. performers.
5512 I think that they are thinking of the right idea. They have programming in place that could be very practical and provide support to the arts community. I am aware personally of all the tremendous work that has been undertaken by the Craig family and the results that they have achieved.
5513 A-Channel is really an exciting new concept. It is the brainchild of Drew Craig. He has done an incredible job. And so soon it has become an important part of the fabric of Calgary and Edmonton, and about to be that way in Winnipeg.
5514 My personal experiences with the Craig family have been nothing short of fantastic. They have provided many opportunities to me personally and to my production company over the past ten years through both their radio and TV holdings, and their word has always been true to me.
5515 It is my pleasure to provide this endorsement for Drew Craig. I think he has a fantastic application, and I ask you to please give it your full consideration. I think they will deliver a very strong and exciting new station for Vancouver Island, and it will serve the Island first and foremost.
5516 Thank you very much.
5517 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you, sir.
5518 Madam Secretary.
5519 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor this afternoon is Intrepid Theatre Company Society, with Joanne Wilson.
5520 Would you come forward, please.
--- Pause / Pause
5521 MS VOGEL: No one from Intrepid Theatre.
5522 Then I would ask Barry W. Kelsey to come forward, please.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5523 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good evening.
5524 MR. KELSEY: Madam Chair, I don't know whether I am last or second-last, but I don't feel this is the best spot on the calendar for the day. I am just conscious that it is getting on to 9:30 for you folks, so I will try to move through this as quickly as I can. But I am determined to get as far down the road with my script as possible before the ten minutes are up.
5525 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: So are we. But you will see that after the ten minutes we are very alert too.
5526 MR. KELSEY: I will be watching for that.
5527 Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, my name is Barry Kelsey and I am appearing in support of the application by Craig Systems for a new TV licence to serve Victoria and Vancouver Island.
5528 Until retirement four years ago, I served British Columbia as Assistant Deputy Minister for Culture, Heritage and Recreation and held that appointment for 12 years, from 1984 until 1996.
5529 Commissioners, I have viewed television service in remote communities on Vancouver Island and in the Gulf and have been heartened to be able to watch in those places the Northern Television Service which appears to emanate from the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut. This programming is very well done. It is interesting and it is unique.
5530 But in those same communities I was not able to watch programming from and about Vancouver Island, reflecting the Island's uniqueness. Why? Because there isn't any.
5531 The CRTC is to be congratulated for having licensed the Northern Television Service. I personally played a small role in helping establish Canada's northern broadcasting system in the late 1950s and 1960s. I learned then, and I know now, how important locally-focused television is. Without it, cultures wither.
5532 I particularly want to applaud the Commission for having recognized that the uniqueness of the North could be reflected in television production.
5533 But that is not Vancouver Island's reality.
5534 I am intervening today as an Islander. We have a large population but no television service reflecting that size. Our history is unique within the greater context of British Columbia's history and that of Canada.
5535 When people came to Vancouver Island as its first immigrants, they came directly from Europe, not from the mainland or from the rest of Canada. Our key geographic features had already been named by First Nations People and by Spanish and Portuguese explorers long before northern Europeans arrived from around the Horn. Those names remain and they are on the map.
5536 We are the part of British Columbia that already has treaties with the First Nations. But these things are unknown to television.
5537 Our three major First Nations groups speak languages as different from each other as French differs from English and English from Spanish. These first citizens number in the thousands of people on Vancouver Island, yet they are invisible to television.
5538 We can see the whole world on the dozens of channels available on our sets. We can even see meaningful programming from northern Canada, at least in our small remote communities. But we cannot see ourselves or each other.
5539 I believe the Craig Corporation's preparation and research over the last several years, in Victoria and on the Island, has yielded the licence proposal with the best chance of reflecting Island needs and Island uniqueness.
5540 The core of my presentation to you follows a fairly standard form of argument -- assumptions, strategic considerations and conclusions.
5541 First, then, my assumptions.
5542 My first assumption in looking at the competition here is that the people of the Island and its related Gulf Islands are a community. We are linked to each other by history, by treaty, by commerce, by social services, geography, transportation roots, by cultural practice and by custom. Yet in the national media that reach us, there are virtually no reflections back to us of our uniqueness even though our population is larger than Newfoundland's. This is true of the national press and of television and radio, Arthur Black notwithstanding.
5543 My second assumption is that there is no reason to think that this shortcoming will be acted upon by a new station owner if the licence in play goes to program managers who always have one eye on the Vancouver market. Nor can I assume that it will be acted upon if the licence goes to a television service whose program decisionmaking rotates around a pivot point in Toronto. Toronto as a gatekeeper for Island culture and Island television is a challenging thought for my old mind.
5544 So my second assumption is that the best hope for redress lies with a service focused entirely on the large population of the Island, committed entirely to us, with major decisions made in most instances in Victoria or on the Island, and in any case no further away than Calgary.
5545 You have before you no seething western isolationist. I spent much of my career with the provincial government, and before that with the federal government, working with other provinces, working with the national government, developing national programs in film, television production, sport, publishing, music and other areas like film distribution.
5546 But a component of my second assumption is that the Vancouver Island market, with its substantial economy, has seen large sums of television revenue earned on the Island and then leave the Island in the form of corporate revenues and profits, with no program investment back on to the Island into the Island community and no contribution to its culture or its economy.
5547 Some of this revenue could be used to make programs that serve our needs, and Craig has committed to do so.
5548 To restate the shortcoming which the CRTC could address, can address, through this decision: more than 600,000 Canadians -- in fact, it is more like 700,000 Canadians -- who form a unique community on Vancouver Island and its related Gulf Islands remain unrecognized and unserved by an appropriate television service. As far as television is concerned, this population is invisible to the rest of British Columbia, to the rest of western Canada and to the rest of the country. Most importantly, as far as television is concerned, it is invisible to itself.
5549 From the perspective of national communications policy and national television strategy within that policy, this complex and unique Canadian community, larger by far in population than Newfoundland, is not served.
5550 The strategic considerations I have examined before concluding that the Craig proposal is best are as follows:
5551 Will the service be wholly Island based and wholly committed to the Island population?
5552 Will the licensee commit sufficient resources to support good programming from all over the Island?
5553 Will the licensee commit to reflect and support the artistic and cultural growth of Islanders in its programs?
5554 Will the station reflect the First Nations People of our Island to each other and to the wider community?
5555 Will the licensee make specific, credible commitments to contribute to the long-term development of our economy by investing in independent film and television production?
5556 And finally, how to the proponents' records of achievement in western Canada accord with these strategic concerns I have outlined and with the commitments thy have made to the CRTC in the past?
5557 Commissioners, I have looked at the proposals before you and, given the assumptions I have described, the considerations outlined above, and the information that is available to me, I have concluded that the Craig proposal fits best with Vancouver Island's television needs.
5558 Craig is committed to a great deal of local and Island programming for the entire Island area, which will showcase and support Island arts and creativity, give visibility to First Citizens, spend large sums to help develop independent television and film production, and make us visible on television to ourselves.
5559 Finally, I would just like to return to my first point. I support and I want to really strongly emphasize how much I applaud the availability the remote northern communities of the Island this Northern Television Service. It is really quite wonderful.
5560 But I commend to your consideration that it is time to provide to these same towns, and to all the people on Vancouver Island, a strong Island-based, Island-focused television service. I believe the Craig A-Channel proposal is the best alternative.
5561 With that, I thank you very much. I hope you have a nice dinner.
5562 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: The same for you, sir. Thank you for having participated.
5563 Madam Secretary.
5564 MS VOGEL: I would next like to call National Screen Institute Canada, Cheryl Ashton.
--- Pause / Pause
5565 MS VOGEL: Seeing no movement, then I would like to invite New Music West 2000 to come forward.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5566 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good evening.
5567 MR. HATLELID: Good evening. My name is Martin Hatlelid. I am the General Manager and co-producer of New Music West, which is Vancouver's annual New Music Festival and Conference, produced in conjunction with the Pacific Music Industry Association. The event is now in its ninth year.
5568 For the modern rock industry, our event is the west coast music event of the year. Last year's festival featured over 200 bands, drew 15,000 people, received front page coverage from the Georgia Strait and the Vancouver Sun, plus great reviews from many publications and media outlets.
5569 I am also a musician and a former Vancouver Island resident. I am appearing today in support of Craig Broadcast's application for A-Channel on the Island.
5570 I know firsthand that there is a huge talent pool on the Island, and it is not just in Victoria. In my role with New Music West, I am in touch with many local Island performers. Each year we receive over 1,000 submissions from artists hoping to be in our festival. Last year over 100 applications were from Vancouver Island, including some of the buzz bands who attracted international attention at the festival: groups like Velvet, who are signing with Si(ph) Records; Special Guests, being courted by Atek Records; Kilt Lifters(ph), Limestone all are Island based and building strong local fan bases.
5571 These artists are very vocal about the lack of support they receive from CHEK-TV and how important it is to get support from the local broadcaster. This is a consistent theme from literally all the groups we work with, who come to play the festival and fight for media coverage of their participation in the event.
5572 We have tried to get support from CHEK-TV for our event, but we are never able to find an outlet for the station for coverage.
5573 Having met the Craig family during their application to the CRTC three years ago, I watched with interest how they progressed with the A-Channel and see how quickly they become established in the Alberta market. I have spoken with many artists and touring groups and directed them to contact A-Channel when they are going to Alberta. The feedback I have received about A-Channel support for touring groups has been consistent.
5574 "The Big Breakfast" is open to having guest performers. The entertainment reporters actually go the shows. These groups are getting exposure from A-Channel, which is helping to build them a new market.
5575 Now I look with interest to see the plans they are putting in place for entertainment coverage for Vancouver Island. A-Channel's "250" will run each week night, dedicated to arts and entertainment, showcasing both established and emerging talent. This show will be similar to their "Wired Feature", which runs on Calgary's A-Channel station -- but better, I am told, with more money pumped into production and coverage of events right across the Island.
5576 "Entertainment West" is a good idea. This show is proposed to originate from Victoria and will provide an outlet for B.C. performers to be heard on all the A-Channel stations. It will also provide a voice for guest performers visiting the Island to reach the entire prairie market.
5577 "The Big Breakfast" is a hit in Alberta and as a live two-hour TV show relies heavily on live entertainment. This is good news for B.C. performers. Any time they can support live music, they do.
5578 In fairness, I would like to mention that our festival receives generous support from the media and music communities. We are one of the few events which feature sponsorships by competitors, both Z95 and CFOX support our event. HMV, Sam's and Future Shop support our event. Both Roland and Yamaha support us, as does MuchMusic and VTV.
5579 We are, and remain to be, continually thankful for our support from our partners and media sponsors and hope this intervention won't adversely affect our relationship with MuchMusic.
5580 In closing, I would like to say that I think A-Channel on the Island can, and will, help make a difference. The plans this new station has put forward will help boost the entertainment community on the Island and help these groups build a local fan base. It will bring a new element to the table for TV viewers in B.C.
5581 I am pleased to provide my support for Drew Craig and his team for A-Channel on the Island.
5582 Thank you very much.
5583 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much, sir.
5584 Madam Secretary.
5585 MS VOGEL: Our next intervenor this afternoon is Victoria Independent Film Producers Association, Greg Mason.
5586 Would you come forward, please.
--- Pause / Pause
5587 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: We know that there is one intervenor from this morning who is here, so I would propose that that person will be our last intervenor for the day.
5588 MS VOGEL: That's fine. I would like to call Nathan Cho, then, with CKTV, to make his presentation.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
5589 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Good evening.
5590 MR. CHO: Good evening. Commissioners, my name is Nathan Cho, and I am producer for Rogers Multicultural Channel and also Korean programming provider for TalentVision.
5591 I have been working as a producer for the last five years on both channels.
5592 I brought a tape here, but I don't think I will be able to play this because of time constraints.
5593 The man sitting beside me is right now appearing as a TV anchor for the Korean community, and we share news footage with CBC Vancouver to let our viewers know what is developing in Canada. It is good for first generation Koreans to integrate into Canadian society. Our show is remarkable because viewers are increasing day by day.
5594 I would like to read what I have written earlier. You have my paper there.
5595 I have two points of view. First of all is a business point of view, because I have a business, a stake, and this licensing and our decisionmaking process make a difference to me, whether my business may be at stake or may not.
5596 Also, I would like to present the community point of view, because I hear from people in my community about what is going on regarding this licensing. They have shown some concern about this.
5597 First of all, I will read: Will the ethnic producers working at the Rogers Multicultural Channel and TalentVision not be competing for a livelihood against the producers working at LMTV?
5598 I believe that commercial advertisers and viewers will shift away from TalentVision and Rogers multicultural channel.
5599 I am also worried that Rogers should shut down Rogers' multicultural channel down the road, because it does not have as much of an appeal as LMTV does. Then what should I do for a living after being laid off?
5600 Some of the producers on the Rogers' multicultural channel that I talked to presented a similar case, saying that their businesses are at stake.
5601 I will proceed to the community point of view.
5602 LMTV is talking about the synergy facts that are created through networking between Toronto and Vancouver. I was here two days ago and I heard that. But I am worried that LMTV should bring to the Vancouver area such programs as are already being broadcast in Toronto. LMTV may say this networking operation is necessary because local Korean programs may not be produced in Vancouver for lack of funding. But this is not acceptable to the Korean community in Vancouver.
5603 It is good to watch Toronto programs as a way of understanding the Korean community in Toronto, but these programs should not be shown as main programs on LMTV.
5604 Also, I would like to talk about this issue that the ethnic programs should occupy prime time blocks on LMTV.
5605 LMTV should focus on local programs during prime time hours. People of my community say that English programs can be viewed on all the other channels. People also say that LMTV can be a truly multilingual channel only if ethnic programs that are locally produced here in Vancouver were put on those prime time blocks.
5606 I would like to wrap up my presentation. If you have questions, I am ready to answer.
5607 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you.
5608 Would your friend --
5609 MR. CHO: Mr. Chen Kim(ph) is the anchor --
5610 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Would he like to participate in the intervention?
5611 MR. CHO: No.
5612 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: It is because we have had other intervenors two or three at a time.
5613 I am interested in knowing, from your experience and your appreciation of the size of the community here, what you would see. I understand your concern vis-à-vis the existing channels and the cannibalization that can be done between them and eventually your business gets to be challenged. But if we think about the community being served, don't you think that it may help to have a choice?
5614 And in order to have a real choice, what do you think should be the presence of Korean type of programs on the channel that is proposed?
5615 MR. CHO: I don't know. But what I hear -- I can't stop but remember three years ago when they presented a similar case, and I was deeply affected by their posture that they would take over TalentVision and limit the number of Korean programming hours to half an hour. At that point in time they said that. Now they have shifted their posture in saying this time around they would have two hours rather than a half-hour show.
5616 I don't know what type of programs will be shown on those two-hour blocks per week. My guess is they will bring the programs that are already being put on the air in Toronto into the Vancouver area. The programs that are being shown in Toronto may concern national issues, but I think they are focused on the Korean community in Toronto only.
5617 My question is that if they are intent upon allowing Korean programming hours in Vancouver, then they should focus on local issues. Here we have about 30,000 Koreans, and a major portion of this population is first generation Koreans. They have to still find the time to integrate into the Canadian society, the way of life, Canadian manner of doing things.
5618 I think I am in a good position to allow them to see just that.
5619 CFMT is talking about the subsidy of funding, and they divided their programs between the ethnic programming and the English programming. They say English programming it is because subsidize small ethnic communities.
5620 I don't think there is merit in their argument. So I am opposed to that.
5621 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: I understand that you would be satisfied with the two hours if those two hours were to be local type of programming that addresses the communities here.
5622 MR. CHO: Yes. And it should be in the prime time blocks. If they allow the Korean community to be on prime time, that would be good. English programs are not heartfelt by the Korean viewers. Most of these viewers come home after work and they view the programs during those prime times, between 6 o'clock and 11 o'clock. These are very essential hours.
5623 I would like LMTV to dedicate these hours to -- not all, but a considerable portion to the Korean community. Right now we are programming 36 hours, in total, per week in Vancouver. This is quite a portion, don't you think?
5624 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: I understand, too, that what you are saying is you are not supportive of the principle of having a portion that is ethnic programming and another one that is more of the English-language model, especially when this is scheduled in prime time.
5625 MR. CHO: That's right. I can't buy that idea, because I don't know about the true intentions of Rogers in presenting this case. Will they go for a truly multilingual station? If that is the case, then they should dedicate all of these prime time hours to local Canadian content programming. I can contribute to that.
5626 But they say because of this funding issue they have to allocate these hours to English American soap operas, and things like that. I don't think that is right.
5627 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you. Commissioner Grauer has a question for you as well.
5628 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
5629 You produce now for TalentVision and for the Rogers Multicultural?
5630 MR. CHO: Yes.
5631 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Do you do 36 hours -- where is the 36 hours in Vancouver?
5632 MR. CHO: Exactly speaking, 14 hours of Korean programming goes on TalentVision, and the remaining 22 hours go on Rogers Multicultural Channel.
5633 The majority of these programs are imported from Korea. But recently I have started contracting with CBC. We are very grateful that the CBC producer, the executive producer -- her name is Sandra Goody(ph) -- she agreed with me on the idea that she will allow us to use their news footage.
5634 I don't think the programs that go on right now should be all from Korea. I think I should take as much programming hours away from this 36 hours to dedicate them to local programming, such as CBC news.
5635 People respond greatly when they watch developments in Vancouver, any topic, because they are not able to watch English spoken news because of their limitations in English.
5636 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: So how much is local of that 36 hours now?
5637 MR. CHO: Right now I think it is about three hours only. So it is very small, like 10 per cent only.
5638 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Is it news programming primarily?
5639 MR. CHO: Yes.
5640 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: And that is what you do, is it?
5641 MR. CHO: Yes. But please...
--- Technical difficulties / Problèmes techniques
5642 ...had the CBC footage. It is very difficult to produce. We don't have much resources. But that is exactly what the viewers want. We saw that.
5643 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: So funding is the challenge for you, then, is it?
5644 MR. CHO: Yes.
5645 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you very much.
5646 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: Thank you very much, Mr. Cho.
5647 Madam Secretary?
5648 MS VOGEL: I would like to check to see whether a couple of the intervenors who were to be heard earlier today from Vancouver Island are in the room.
5649 Vancouver Media Directors Council...?
--- Pause / Pause
5650 MS VOGEL: Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce...?
--- Pause / Pause
5651 MS VOGEL: Those are the intervenors for today.
5652 CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMISSION: So that concludes our work for today. We will be here tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock to proceed with the interventions to complete Phase III.
5653 Thank you. Good night.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1900, to resume
on Thursday, February 24, 2000 at 0800 / L'audience
est ajournée à 1900, pour reprendre le jeudi
24 février 2000 à 0800