ARCHIVED - Transcript/Transcription - Vancouver, B.C. / (C.-B.) - 18 October 2001
This page has been archived on the Web
Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.
Providing Content in Canada's Official Languages
Please note that the Official Languages Act requires that government publications be available in both official languages.
In order to meet some of the requirements under this Act, the Commission's transcripts will therefore be bilingual as to their covers, the listing of CRTC members and staff attending the hearings, and the table of contents.
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded verbatim transcript and, as such, is transcribed in either of the official languages, depending on the language spoken by the participant at the hearing.
TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
FOR THE CANADIAN RADIO‑TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DU
CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
SUBJECT / SUJET:
Multiple broadcasting and ownership applications & applications further to Public Notice 2001-32 "Call for applications for a broadcasting licence for an ethnic television programming undertaking to serve Vancouver, B.C.".
Demandes de radiodiffusion et de propriétés multiples ainsi que les demandes suite à l'avis public CRTC 2001-32 "Appel de demandes de licence de radiodiffusion visant l'exploitation d'une entreprise de programmation à caractère ethnique pour desservir Vancouver (C.-B.)".
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Renaissance Vancouver Renaissance Vancouver
Hotel Harbourside Hotel Harbourside
1133 West Hastings Street 1133 West Hastings Street
Harbourside Ballroom II & III Harbourside Ballroom II & III
Vancouver, British Columbia
18 October, 2001 le 18 octobre 2001
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
Multiple broadcasting and ownership applications & applications further to Public Notice 2001-32 "Call for applications for a broadcasting licence for an ethnic television programming undertaking to serve Vancouver, B.C.".
Demandes de radiodiffusion et de propriétés multiples ainsi que les demandes suite à l'avis public CRTC 2001-32 "Appel de demandes de licence de radiodiffusion visant l'exploitation d'une entreprise de programmation à caractère ethnique pour desservir Vancouver (C.-B.)".
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Andrée Wylie Vice-Chair Broadcasting
/Vice-Président, Radio diffusion
Cindy Grauer Commissioner / Conseillère
Martha Wilson Commissioner / Conseillère
Joan Pennefather Commissioner / Conseillère
Andrew Cardozo Commissioner / Conseiller
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Martine Vallee Hearing Manager / Gérant de
Marguerite Vogel Secretary / secrétaire
Carolyn Pinsky Legal Counsel /
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Renaissance Vancouver Renaissance Vancouver
Hotel Harbourside Hotel Harbourside
1133 West Hastings Street 1133 West Hastings Street
Harbourside Ballroom II & III Harbourside Ballroom II & III
Vancouver, British Columbia Vancouver (Colombie-Britannique)
18 October, 2001 le 18 octobre 2001
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES
INTERVENTION BY / INTERVENTION PAR
by Jon Azpiri / par Jon Azpiri 4661
by Sharad Khare / par Sharad Khare 4722
by Paul Pahal / par Paul Pahal 4739
by Howard Seto / par Howard Seto 4761
by Yulanda Faris / par Yulanda Faris 4791
by Vanessa Yang / par Vanessa Yang 4865
by Nathalie Potocka / par Nathalie Potocka 4887
by Leon Yu / par Leon Yu 4914
REPLY BY / RÉPLIQUE PAR
by Multivan Broadcast Corporation / 4937
par Multivan Broadcast Corporation
by CFMT-TV / par CFMT-TV 4977
APPLICATION BY / APPLICATION PAR
by CJIL-TV / par CJIL-TV 5012
Vancouver, British Columbia / Vancouver, Colombie Britannique
--- Upon commencing on Thursday, October 18, 2001 at 0830 / L'audience débute le jeudi, 18 octobre 2001 à 0830
4659 seq level0 \h \r0 seq level1 \h \r0 seq level2 \h \r0 seq level3 \h \r0 seq level4 \h \r0 seq level5 \h \r0 seq level6 \h \r0 seq level7 \h \r0 THE CHAIRPERSON: Back to what will be the last of Phase III of the first part of our hearing. Madam Secretary, please.
4660 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair. If I might also just remind everyone in the audience to please turn off any pagers, or cell phones, or put them onto vibrate, that would be great.
4661 I'd like to call our first presenter this morning, that is Jon Azpiri. Please come forward whenever you're ready.
4662 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
4663 MR. AZPIRI: Good morning, Madam Chair. My name is John Azpiri, and I'm a member of Vancouver's Spanish community, as well as a freelance journalist, and I'm here today to voice my support for Multivan Broadcasting.
4664 First, I'd like to tell you a bit about myself. I will keep my bio brief, partially because of time restraints, and partially because, relatively speaking, I haven't been alive that long and there really isn't that much to tell. I've worked as a freelance journalist --
4665 THE CHAIRPERSON: Don't be so modest.
4666 MR. AZPIRI: Oh, thank you. I worked as a freelance journalist, working in both English and Spanish for the last eight years. I mostly work in the field of sports. I used to cover the NBA's Vancouver Grizzlies franchise for several local newspapers and national magazines, back when there was a Vancouver Grizzlies franchise to cover. I also cover the arts and music scene, as well as cross-cultural issues, and issues affecting Latinos around the world.
4667 My parents came to this country from the Basque country in northern Spain in 1971, the same year that Pierre Trudeau implemented his multicultural policies. I am proud to be a part of the first generation of ethnic Canadians to have been born and raised under multiculturalism. Growing up in my house, three languages, English, Spanish and Basque were spoken by my family, often in the very same sentence.
4668 As a person of Spanish Basque descent, I feel that there is a real lack of television programming that helps me keep in touch with my heritage, and I think Multivan will do the best job in filling that void.
4669 When I was growing up in Vancouver, it was very unusual to hear Spanish spoken in the streets. Odds are if I heard someone speaking Spanish, it was someone my family knew personally. In the last decade, however, Vancouver's Spanish-speaking population has grown dramatically. Now, hardly a day goes by when I don't hear the distinct rhythm of Spanish spoken in the streets of Vancouver, and I've noticed that it has had an effect on me, personally.
4670 Since there were so few Spanish speakers in Vancouver when I was growing up, I often felt isolated from my roots. Now, hearing other people speaking Spanish has helped me connect with my language and heritage. The simple act of hearing Spanish in the streets spoken by people I don't know, often in an accent that I have difficulty understanding, has made me feel connected to a larger community. I feel that local Spanish language programming will have a similar effect. Locally-produced Spanish language programming will not only inform and entertain Spanish-speaking viewers, but will also help them feel connected to a community at large.
4671 One of the reasons that I support Multivan so strongly is that it is locally owned and operated. You have, no doubt, heard from others about the importance of local ownership, and I whole-heartedly agree that local ownership is critical to the success of a local multicultural station. It would be easy to dismiss the emphasis on local ownership as just a piece of western regionalist rhetoric, but it is not about that at all. It's about what is necessary to make a local multicultural station work.
4672 While other types of television stations, such as sports and music stations, can be managed successfully on a national level, multicultural channels need to have a strong local ownership and management so that they keep in touch with the ever-changing needs of the community.
4673 I feel that local ownership will go a long way in helping a multicultural channel reflect the unique needs of Vancouver's ethnic communities. The needs of Vancouver's ethnic communities are quite different from that of ethnic communities in Toronto and other Canadian cities. In addition, Vancouver's ethnic communities are constantly changing. For instance, as I mentioned previously, Vancouver's Spanish speaking community has changed dramatically in the last decade and it will likely change and grow even more in the next decade. Local ownership will be better prepared to adapt to such changes in Vancouver's ethnic landscape.
4674 Of course, I'm not just lending my support to Multivan because it is locally owned and operated. I'm lending them my support because of their dedication to represent Vancouver's local ethnic communities. I have worked as a journalist in both print and radio for several years and I have never come across a group that has been more dedicated to serving the community than Multivan.
4675 Managing a multi-language TV station is a very delicate balancing act, one that requires attention to detail, as well as a clear view of the big picture. One of the reasons that I endorse Multivan is that they have a hands-on approach to business that pays attention to detail. I'll give you a brief example.
4676 When I arrived here this morning at the hearing, one of the first people to greet me was James Ho, Multivan president, and a respected businessman and community leader, who wanted to make sure that my parking was validated. Now, call me a cynic, but something tells me that if Ted Rogers was here today, he wouldn't be too interested in validating my parking. That may seem like a trivial thing, but those little things could add up to make a big difference.
4677 I have also been impressed by how Multivan has sincerely reached out to Vancouver's ethnic communities and have tried to create a place at the table for everybody. While Multivan's competitors are content to simply throw money at local ethnic communities, Multivan is doing something more; they are listening. Multivan has reached out to local groups and listened to their ideas, and they are doing their best to incorporate those ideas into their vision for a new multicultural channel in Vancouver.
4678 That commitment to the community and willingness to listen is the kind of thing that money can't buy. Multivan's commitment to the community is reflected in its proposed programming. Multivan is committed to offering news and current affairs programming. In addition, it also understands the importance of arts and entertainment programming and will offer original music and comedy programs.
4679 As a person who works extensively in sports journalism, I am excited by Multivan's dedication to sports broadcasting. It's often been said that sports is the toy department of life, and the tragic events of September 11th have certainly put sports in a proper perspective. Nevertheless, sports play an important role in any culture and should be an integral part of any multilanguage station. There is a currently a woeful lack of international sports coverage in Vancouver, something that Multivan is committed to improving. Multivan could also improve coverage of local sporting events. For instance, the Vancouver International Dragon Boat Festival is the largest festival of its kind in North America, but it receives little local television coverage. Multivan could help fill that void.
4680 Multivan is also committed to cross-cultural programming. As a second generation Canadian, I am acutely aware of the challenges of living between two cultures; Canadian culture and my parents' native culture. Second generation Canadians try to balance their lives between their family's past and their own future in Canada. I think Multivan will create programming that will help both immigrants and their children bridge the gap between their two homelands.
4681 Multivan is committed to programming that will help second generation Canadians learn about themselves, as well as others. The issues of second generation Canadians is an important one to the Spanish community. Like many European communities, the Spanish community has struggled to hold on to its culture. As generations integrate into society and intermarry, very often their Spanish heritage falls by the wayside. I can't tell you how many times I've met someone who had a Spanish parent or grandparent, who has little to no connection to the community and his only exposure to the Spanish language comes from reading the menu at Taco Bell. I believe that Multivan could help reverse this trend.
4682 In addition to quality programming, Multivan has put together a solid business plan, one that is much more viable than that of its competitors. Multivan has found a way to do what's best for the community, as well as what's best for the bottom line.
4683 In closing, I feel that Multivan Broadcasting has shown a dedication to nurturing the Vancouver/Spanish community, as well as Vancouver's growing Latin American community. The creation of a new multicultural station in Vancouver is a big responsibility and I have no doubt that Multivan is up to the task. Thank you for your time.
4684 THE CHAIRPERSON: Tell me, Mr. Azpiri, do the Basque speak a different language, or speak Spanish?
4685 MR. AZPIRI: Yes, they speak both, but the native indigenous language of the Basques is the Basque language, which is actually the oldest language in Europe, and not only is it not related to Spanish, it's not related to any other language.
4686 THE CHAIRPERSON: Nor to Catalan, or --
4687 MR. AZPIRI: Yes. No. It's, I guess, what they call an isolate in linguistics, and it's completely unrelated to any other known language.
4688 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you have a very special heritage, besides a paid parking ticket?
4689 MR. AZPIRI: Yes. They're both important.
4690 THE CHAIRPERSON: We thank you for coming this morning. I hope you didn't come by bus now.
4691 MR. AZPIRI: Oh, no, don't worry, James is taking care of it.
4692 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your participation. Madam Secretary, please.
4693 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair. Our next presenter is Armi Grano. Would you like to come forward, please.
4694 MS. GRANO: Good morning, members of the CRTC Panel, and ladies and gentlemen. My name is Armi Grano. I'm a local jazz singer, and I live here in Vancouver, and I work in Vancouver too. I have been a singer for many years, and I have performed in different countries. I sing in five languages, and I'm aware of the different cultures that are part of our society here in Greater Vancouver, and in Canada as a whole.
4695 I also represent more than 30,000 Filipinos in the Lower Mainland area of B.C. I am here to intervene on behalf of the Multivan Broadcasting Corporation, and I know, currently, we have a multicultural station on air, and I watch some of the programs that are being shown. Once in a while, I flip the channel and I watch some of the Filipino shows, and I have one observation. And most of them are canned shows, which means that they're produced outside of Canada, so they're just being imported and being shown here. And I just find that most of the shows are irrelevant to the people living here, and it does not entice the younger generations, or the ones who have lived here for a long time to watch them. I think that the younger generation has a yearning to learn more about their ethnic culture and history, and they want it conveyed in a way that it can relate to their current way of life here in Vancouver. I've seen my daughter's friends, you know, they watch the shows and they don't even understand, like, once the word hits, like, past conversational level, they can't understand anything that's really deep in terms of the language. And I have watched sitcoms, and dramas, and variety shows, and most younger people do not even know the stars, or understand the humour of the show. And most kids do not understand the native language so it could be helpful to have subtitles in some shows.
4696 I think that documentaries and news from abroad done in English and produced here would be of interest to immigrants living in B.C. It would present a different perspective of news, and commentaries about events happening in other parts of the world.
4697 I also think I'm representing the Filipino community, that the Filipinos here are not being given the exposure and recognition, in spite of their numbers. And sometimes people come up to me, like, "Why do you sing jazz? Like, what's that got to do with Filipino?" And people forget that the Americans were in the Philippines, they colonized the Philippines for a long time, and in the late 1800s, and before that, the Spaniards colonized the Philippines for more than 400 years. And the Japanese came, and so it's just this mix. That's why I try and sing in different languages, because I have been exposed to these different cultures. And so there's not enough cultural information, but only the ones coming from the international news reports gathered by international reporters.
4698 As a performer, I would like to be given more chances in getting bigger gigs, or bookings in conventions and hotels in town. They tend to gear more to, I guess, non-Filipinos. Multicultural TV stations such as the one being presented by Multivan Broadcasting would be a good vehicle for me to promote Filipino music in a different setting. I can perform different songs from different countries and present it in a way where the mainstream audience can relate to them, such as in a jazz or cabaret format. I'm sure Multivan has presented already their piece before this so I'm not going to elaborate on that.
4699 I know Multivan is committing not only dollars, but resources and people to help local talents produce shows in Vancouver. And I think because they are based locally and the people are sort of like hands on, that they would be more in tune with the local needs and pulse of the region, which will enable them to produce a more effective programming.
4700 I guess that's all for my presentation, and I thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak.
4701 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms. Grano. Commissioner Cardozo has a question for you.
4702 MR. CARDOZO: Thank you, Madam Chair. Just a quick question about what programming you think the Filipino community would be interested in, and to what extent the community, and I'm thinking especially of the young people who speak and understand Tagalog. I notice that Multivan is offering about four hours a week, and LMtv, about two hours a week - and I can be corrected if either of those are wrong - what kind of programming do you want to see, and in what language?
4703 MS. GRANO: I know how expensive it is to produce a local program, but I think, like, a news magazine, like a magazine-style program would be really suitable and incorporating more of the younger generation, and maybe somebody who's really well respected in the community to anchor and direct the whole thing. But I think a lot of the younger generation are really longing, or hankering, or they just have a thirst for their roots, but they have a hard time getting the information in a way that would really interest them. So maybe like a variety program, but not the variety show that they are used to watching back home, like free-for-all, or anything goes, but a more structured one. You know, like pick some really good artists or talents in the community -- or not only in the Filipino community, but outside, who are gaining some -- trying to break through in the mainstream, and maybe a segment for a little bit of the culture in terms of language, and history, and the arts.
4704 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: And what language would you see this in?
4705 MS. GRANO: That would be Tagalog, Filipino.
4706 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: So there are enough people who understand Tagalog?
4707 MS. GRANO: Yes, that's the national language.
4708 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Yes.
4709 MS. GRANO: There are two official languages in the Philippines. It's called Filipino, which is based on Tagalog, and English, of course.
4710 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: And among young people, enough people are speaking Tagalog that it would make sense?
4711 MS. GRANO: Yes, because most of their parents still speak Tagalog, or their grandparents here. They understand it, they nod, "Yeah. Mm-hmm," but they can't really speak.
4712 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. And one question on the community. There's a sizable community in Vancouver that probably came in the last 20, 25 years. Is there still a lot of Filipino immigrants coming to Vancouver, or is that slowing down?
4713 MS. GRANO: I think there's still going to be a lot. It's an ongoing process and I know it's just because of the selection process. If just given a chance, I know a lot of people would come here, but I guess they have got stricter now with the rules because they only have to allocate so much for each country. I know the Canadian government is doing its best to give everybody a chance, but I still know a lot of people there that would exchange anything just to come here.
4714 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thanks. Thanks very much.
4715 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms. Grano. I hope you were not performing last night?
4716 MS. GRANO: I'm performing tonight.
4717 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, that's better, because this would have been a very early --
4718 MS. GRANO: Yes. Yes, I'm glad.
4719 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4720 MS. GRANO: Thank you so much.
4721 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for participating. Madam Secretary, please.
4722 THE SECRETARY: Our next presenter is Sharad Khare. Would you like to come forward, please.
4723 MR. KHARE: Good morning, Madam Chair, the others on the Board in front of me. My name is Sharad Khare. I'm an actor and a broadcaster, here in Vancouver, British Columbia. I'm here to support Multivan, MVBC TV's bid for a new station.
4724 I've been listening for the last few days here, and I've been listening to all the prepared speeches, and I have a lot of stuff prepared, but I think I'm going to just speak from my own mind and what I've observed, and what I'm watching, learning.
4725 I think I'm one of the younger representatives in the room, and I represent an age group of people here in Vancouver that have buying power. I'm 27 years old. In a few years, we will be some of the most influential and, I should say, some of the richest people, excuse some of the people in the room here. Probably not as rich as some of the people in the room, here, but we will have those influences and we will have those influences on people in our community.
4726 As an actor, I have experienced a lot of biases because I'm East Indian, trying to be in the mainstream community. Some of the first opportunities that I got in the media was from the multicultural society. I used to host in Punjabi, Hindi. I can speak both fluently, and English, as you see today.
4727 Some of the auditions that I go for, God bless my agents, would be for a taxi driver, a gang member. When I'd arrive to the audition, all they would see on my resume is, "East Indian," or "South Asian." When I'd arrive, and they'd see me there, "Well, like, you don't fit the bill," and I never got any of those auditions for, like, a main role, or the roles that I was seeking as an actor.
4728 To give you a good example, a few months ago, I received a call from my agent, and she said, "I got you the role. You got a main lead in a commercial." Very excited, I arrived to the audition -- or excuse me, the actual commercial shooting, and I thought okay, you know, got all dressed up, got a nice haircut that day, and I thought, "You know what, something's going to happen today." I arrived on the scene of the location and I was handed a headband that was attached to the camera, and a tray. All they wanted to shoot were my hands, and I walked around a room and I had -- it was an anti-racism commercial, and all you saw were my hands, and that was my main role.
4729 I think what I'm trying to say is that I've been looking for exposure here in Vancouver, and I've sent headshots such as this, out east. I've sent dozens and dozens of demo tapes out east, unanswered. I pay a lot for those. I make a living by acting. I have to have the latest clothes, the latest haircuts, whatever, to keep competitive, and I can't do that if I'm not working.
4730 The benefits of a local owner are they know me. They know the artists in this city. They gave me a chance. They asked me, you know, "Sharad, would you like to speak on our behalf?" And they said, you know -- I've had people on the board, Baljit Sangra ask me, "What would you like to see? Do you want to work on a project? Do you want to even shoot a demo?" Monika Deol, someone from Toronto asked me, "Sharad, can I look at your demo tape? Do you want me to help you out with it?" I've never received this type of help from anyone out east. And they should know me. They should know me, because I've sent enough demo tapes out east, and it's frustrating. It's very frustrating.
4731 I'm directly affected by your decision because this isn't the first time that I'm applying or helping out a television station get a bid, but this is the first time that a local group of individuals that take heart to make a decision to say, "You know what, we'd like to support a local television station and pay for it. We have the talent; we have the resources; we have the money." And now we have the people saying, "Yeah, we would like to do it."
4732 I mean, a lot of people were talking about September 11th in their speeches, and whatnot. Did anybody know that in the last two weeks, two South Asian men were shot down, my age, and I knew them both, from the social scene in Vancouver? I mean, I hang out with Chinese, East Indians, general white population. I mean, I hang out with everybody. I represent everybody. But nobody talked about that, and that's what, I guess, a local view would talk about. How do we -- I mean, somebody being shot in Toronto can be approached by someone in Toronto, but somebody being shot in Vancouver, there's different issues and different things that you have to tackle, whatever language it's in. So that's something I felt really strongly about.
4733 There are many people in this room that get to go home to their regular jobs. Tomorrow morning, I'm going to be sending tapes out to Toronto, to different companies in the States. I'd like to live in Vancouver and work in Vancouver. A company like Multivan is offering me that and offering local artists to help them out because they live here, and I'd like to see them represented here in Vancouver. And that's what I really have to come here and say. Thank you.
4734 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Khare. After your initial comments, I'll be more attentive to my sons. I may need them when they're rich and I'm old.
4735 MR. KHARE: Thank you very much.
4736 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for coming. Especially, it must be hard for a young man like you to get up so early.
4737 MR. KHARE: Being an actor in the industry, yeah. Thank you very much.
4738 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Madam Secretary, please.
4739 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. Our next presenter is Paul Pahal. Would you like to come forward?
4740 MR. PAHAL: Madam Chair.
4741 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
4742 MR. PAHAL: Commissioners. Good morning. I'm here to support and endorse the MVBC application, the Multivan application.
4743 My name is Paul Pahal. I'm an artist. I'm an immigrant from the U.K., South Asian. I also do digital media, film productions, and also audio productions. You might remember me from the MVBC video that we did for James. I have exhibited my paintings throughout the world, in Asia, Europe, North America, Canada, and have recently just come back from Los Angeles, where I did a show called Atwala, which dealt mainly with South Asian art, music, theatre, spoken word, and it's a four-day festival attended by upwards of 4,000 people. I am returning to Los Angeles and San Francisco next week to do three benefit concerts for two gentlemen that were murdered Wednesday, the 12th in retaliation for the terrorist bombings. I guess you can call my works and my objective to do the works as fusional blending of cultures. My main objective is to produce cultural harmony between the groups that I intermingle with.
4744 For many of us thirty-somethings, which is what I am, an issue that has always come up is that of identity. We have the pleasure of being of numerous cultures. I am, myself, born in the U.K., but my parents are South Asian. They moved to India in 1949 ‑‑ moved to England in 1949. I lived there for 15 years, and then moved to Canada, where I've resided for 20 years, but still often go back home because I still have family, brothers and sisters, there.
4745 It's not easy for some of us to be in this situation. We don't know exactly what our character is. We're a bit of everything. You know, we're a bit of white, we're a bit of black, a bit of brown, and it takes a toll on your heritage. You don't know sometimes what your heritage is. I used to say, myself, I'm British, I'm not Indian, but I have Indian parents. And they went through a lot when they moved to England in 1949. And it's a lot like the same pioneers did when they came to Canada in the late 1800s, early 1900s.
4746 I've assumed the responsibility to try and blend the borders and educate myself, and to teach others of importance of understanding and embracing other cultures, and not to judge each of them through the stereotypical portrayal and representation as seen on many TV shows today.
4747 An example of that, when I was in L.A., two of my clients in L.A., or actually in Hollywood, we had a deep conversation regarding a TV show that was cancelled called Gideon's Crossing, and two of the actors on there that I knew from the U.K. were South Asian. And it is a true representation, that I know of, of hospitals in North America and in the U.K., where a lot of the people, doctors, nurses, medics are South Asian or Asian in general, but on the TV shows you see on today, you don't see that many in there.
4748 Vancouver's history is vast when it comes to immigration to this part of the world. Asians, South Asians and Europeans have all decided to become part of Canada, and Canada would best suit them. In regards to the early pioneers, they sacrificed a lot, but also have benefited from such sacrifices, but surely, this has come with certain sacrifices to themselves and their families.
4749 Some of Multivan's owners, as well as members of its advisory council, have been through this and it's now time for them to become storytellers. They have the opportunity to become part of a station that would give back to their community.
4750 The ethnic communities have been wooed previously by those from Toronto. A few years back, Baton Broadcast were in town and were applying for a licence. They received that licence for Channel 9. They wined and dined us. They promised the world to us. They said, "You guys will be fairly represented, you will be front and centre of the TV station." That did not happen. More or less, the names that we were given, they weren't there three or four weeks after they got the license. It was more or less the Toronto crew that came back and took over the station. So why would we believe that from somebody else from Toronto? We have got to a point now where we've been wooed enough by Toronto and we don't think they will delivery. I'm sorry.
4751 We have all recognized the MVBC are the new kids on the block, with less experience than LMtv/Rogers. With the exception of Mr. Holtby, of course, and that's only when it comes to television, and really, that's to these five gentlemen working together as a group of Multivan Broadcast Corporation. They have experience when it comes to starting and establishing a business. They have experience when it comes down to establishing themselves within the Greater Vancouver market. They have experience in regards to understanding the neighbourhoods they live in within the Greater Vancouver region. They have the experience when it comes down to understanding the needs of the community, each in their own ethnic community, more importantly is that of the Greater Vancouver community. As Mr. Lee voiced to Mr. Saywell, "We are all part of the same community," and that's Greater Vancouver.
4752 Sadly, they do lack experience of being a large group of different interests in one huge group, which one has to wonder where the main voice comes from. LMtv says that they will be a Vancouver company. Surely, you don't expect us to understand that for one minute, with the headquarters being in Toronto, that if Toronto says something, that LMtv is going to say, "Sorry, we can't do that."
4753 Another point that has to be emphasized is that you will be sending, if MVBC were to be awarded the license, that these gentlemen are indeed ethnic, and is that not the mandate for the station to exist? I understand that the Commission would be sending, not only to the citizens of Greater Vancouver, B.C., but the reverberations would definitely make their way back east. To say this station has been awarded to a group of ethnic owners, it would be owned, operated by a group of multiethnic, multifaith businessmen, and that point I can't make clearer.
4754 I believe the CRTC truly believes in the concept of a multiethnic station. To place it within the hands of the multiethnic would stand out within the broadcast community within Canada. It would be the only station to be owned by the very people it serves. They'll no longer have the access to the airwaves, they own the airwaves and they have a voice, and they can make a big change.
4755 That's a decision that will make all newcomers proud. It would show that this country and its policies truly reflect the issue and concept of Immigrations Canada, the concept that this country has been built on the hopes and dreams of many. It will reflect the idea that you don't merely have to work and fit in, but eventually that you may have an opportunity to run and contribute greatly, positively, to society.
4756 Finally, in regards to the issue of local ownership, Mr. Holtby, Mr. Ho, Mr. Lau, Mr. Lee and Mr. Segal have been an integral part of the Vancouver landscape. They have given to the development and enhancement of this city and their commitments to causes which benefit many have been above and beyond expectations. I ask you, gentlemen of this stature and acclaim, as well as the advisory board members, do they need to get involved in ventures such as this if they do not feel strongly about the issues of fair representation for their community and the issues that face many of the ethnic community people, themselves? I say the only reason for them to feel so strongly about this opportunity to enhance this beautiful city, to put on the map Vancouver's communities, flaws and all, but only with the correct representation, and in doing so, to change the current landscape of television and how ethnic groups and communities are portrayed.
4757 MVBC is the best decision you can truly make if you want to respect the citizens of Vancouver. Thank you. Any questions?
4758 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Pahal. We appreciate your coming to participate in the proceeding.
4759 MR. PAHAL: Thank you.
4760 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
4761 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair. Our next presenter is Howard Seto. Would you like to come forward, please.
4762 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. Thank you. Go ahead when you're ready.
4763 MR. SETO: Good morning again, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Howard Seto. The comments I'm going to make today are going to be in support of MVBC.
4764 First of all, just to give you a bit of background on myself, I've been an environmental manager for the past 12 years, working in Vancouver in a consultation role, managerial role, and also as an analyst. Right now, I'm currently working for a global oil tanker company.
4765 I was born in Montreal and have lived in Vancouver for the past 28 years. I am married, have been for nine years, and in March next year, I will be expecting our first child. So my support of this application has a lot to do with that as well, because it will reflect a lot of my personal interest towards that.
4766 First of all, just generally, I'd like to state my interests for the application in that there is a need for Vancouverites such as myself, being a second generation Canadian, to be educated in multiculturalism. In a lot of ways -- my parents have started speaking English to me so I have lost a lot of culture in that sense, and have not really been able to keep up with some of the traditions of our Chinese culture, and I feel that with the coming again of my first child in March, a lot of this will be even diluted further in that I will have lost the language myself and may not even be able to accurately reflect what our Chinese traditions are all about.
4767 As well, it's very important for new immigrants coming to Vancouver to learn what it is to be a Vancouverite, to know all the systems that are in place, to learn about our unique culture, and to feel that they belong and are able to contribute in some way or other. In the end, once they start contributing, I truly believe that they will enrich our society. They will not only be able to fit in as Vancouverites, but also be able to contribute their immediate sense of their culture back to where we might be losing it, again, through dilution. So it's very important that we have them contributing their views and thoughts as to the traditions of each various culture.
4768 Why am I in support of MVBC's application? First of all, I'm confident in the backgrounds of the owners. After going through some of their biographies and backgrounds, not only did I find that I did know some of these owners, but I am confident that they have done a great job in developing the local Vancouver community, whether that be socially or economically. I've also read in their biographies that they have a lot of experience in broadcasting and in multicultural broadcasting especially, within the West Coast area, so that's an quite important factor to me, as well.
4769 I was also pleased to see that MVBC addressed certain issues, such as legal issues in Vancouver, or were able to say that they were going to develop programs about significant factors, such as education, immigration and healthcare systems. These are all things, as I have experienced firsthand, with some of the people that have come to Vancouver recently. Again, these are things that they have trouble with the most, finding out how healthcare systems work here, what is the legal system like, education and whatnot, and I find it very pleasing that they were able to address this in some of the programs.
4770 I'm also confident in the representation given by the advisory board. Again, these are local citizens that have contributed to the community and continue to do so on a regular basis.
4771 A lot of my support resides again on the fact that the station be locally owned, for many reasons. First of all, sustainability. I feel that the local ownership will be able to sustain the interests of the community here. The culture has evolved over time, it's not been the same for the past 28 years that I've been here. There's been developments within each distinct ethnic --
4772 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Seto, if you push your mike, we won't -- we're getting a lot of feedback. Push it away from you, or you from it. Yes.
4773 MR. SETO: Okay.
4774 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry.
4775 MR. SETO: Okay. Fine. As I mentioned, Vancouver's culture is evolving. It doesn't stay the same, and I feel with local ownership, they have a personal stake in some of the interests that we have and will be able to not only keep in touch with it, but be motivated to make sure that they are meeting our interests.
4776 The second reason is pride. Vancouver has been dubbed Hollywood North, and I feel we can build upon this distinction with yet another home-grown well-renowned product. We have the resources here to build this station and to be proud of it.
4777 There's no doubt that Rogers is successful. We all use their products in one form or another. CFTV in Toronto is also successful, looking at a list of the awards and distinctions they have, as I've noticed on the website. I think it would be a great idea, as MVBC has proposed, to be in partnership with the Toronto station and the Montreal station, to make sure that we spread multiculturalism right across Canada.
4778 I also feel that the proposed programs reflect my interests. They're upbeat and they are programs that I would watch, myself, and encourage my children to watch.
4779 I'd also like to comment on the vision, something I feel very importantly about. As an environmental manager, what I do every day leads back to the vision of the owners of a company, their commitment and whatnot. In that sense, I feel that the local owners here have the right vision, after reading their website, about what this TV station should be all about.
4780 The vision, first of all, should reflect principles and core values of the local community, and I feel they have a good grasp on this, by reading some of the programs that they are proposing, and I agree with their approach.
4781 Furthermore, that the vision comes from the owners. It is not from managers, or through a study that was done, but this is actually something they've lived and experienced through being in the community, having dealt with issues, and whatnot. So this is well-engrained in their mind, what the purpose of the station should be, and the vision for it.
4782 It is because of this that I feel because the owners have the vision and the principles and core values that the Vancouverites have as well, this, again, leads to long-term commitment and the sustainability of the station. Sustainability not in the economic sense, but in the sense that people will continue to watch, continue to participate in the events that are advertised, and whatnot.
4783 The last point I'd like to make is about accountability. The owners here are local. They, again, are prominent people in the business community, and social. They have a personal stake in making sure that the interests are reflected and that they represent the Vancouverites properly. I don't feel this is the case with the Rogers group and the LMtv application. They are, again, located back in Toronto. A lot of decisions will be made back there that will affect us. It is driven by a different economy, a different set of objectives, and the point I'd like to raise again is that they are driven by a different vision. Ultimately, corporate vision will drive what all its subsidiaries will be doing.
4784 I have no further comments. Are there any questions for me?
4785 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't think so, Mr. Seto, although we all wish you good luck in your fatherhood.
4786 MR. SETO: Thank you.
4787 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm sure you'll find the sea change in your environment.
4788 MR. SETO: Thank you very much.
4789 THE CHAIRPERSON: You think it's big on a tanker? Madam Secretary, please. Thank you very much.
4790 MR. SETO: You're welcome.
4791 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair. Our next presenter is Yulanda Faris. Would you like to come forward, please.
4792 MS. FARIS: Madam Chair, Commissioners, good morning.
4793 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Ms. Faris.
4794 MS. FARIS: It's been a long four days.
4795 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why do you look so depressed? I thought you were having fun back there.
4796 MS. FARIS: I always have fun.
4797 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good.
4798 MS. FARIS: That's part of my heritage.
4799 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good.
4800 MS. FARIS: My name is Yulanda Faris, and I was very honoured to be asked by the owners of this MVBC to be a member of their advisory council.
4801 I won't go into too many details about my background. I think you have that well documented in your briefs, but I will say that I'm passionate about my community. I have been a community activist. My primary role I see in life is as mother, and now grandmother, and I'm not only mother and grandmother to my children, I'm mother and grandmother to my community. This is a community that took me in and embraced me, and nurtured me, and I feel a responsibility to my community.
4802 I want to thank you all for giving us this opportunity to be part of this process, and I must say, during this process, I have been awed by your intellectual and physical toughness. I am not saying this by way of flattery, because I haven't slept very well in four days. There have been so many thoughts percolating in my mind as I have gone through this process with you and with my colleagues, and I can only hope that I will make some sense here this morning, and I will try to be succinct.
4803 I think this television station will be important for Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, and I thank you for entertaining the idea of a station.
4804 It's been a very long journey for me from a very small town in Jamaica called Spaldings - and by the way, if I get more Jamaican as I go along, I get more Jamaican as I get more emotional - a very long journey from the small town of Jamaica, where I went to a school that engendered in me love of education, love of music, love of church, love of people, and that has all contributed to what and who I am. And although now I live in a swank apartment in West Vancouver, nothing delights me more than hearing some reggae music and listening to some Jamaican talk. You know, it's often said as you climb the ladder in life, you must never forget the people that helped you to get there because they'll be the same people you will meet as you descend the ladder.
4805 Okay. So many words, as I've said, and thoughts have been expressed here, and I'd like to pick up on just two. The word "quality" has been used over and over and over as these groups have presented their proposals, and I want to let you know that I feel that God knows we need quality. There is so much current on television right now that is an insult to one's integrity and one's mind that I will be the first one to work hard for quality.
4806 We have the resources in Vancouver. We are a wonderful mix of peoples and cultures. We have a lot of local talent. If anybody's interested in seeing multiculturalism at its best, I would suggest they take in a performance of the youth orchestra that exists here that's comprised of young people from all backgrounds that get together to play wonderful music for us. So we have the resources; we have the festivals; we have the people; we have the technicians; we have the producers.
4807 Commissioner Cardozo, I was a little bit taken aback by your comments on our video that you felt we showed a lot of dance, and markets, and festivals, and that's not grassroots. I beg to disagree because, to me, that's grassroots. That's where the culture begins. That's where the culture is expressed. I was also taken aback by some presenters who said we've had enough of cooking and music. There can never be enough of cooking and music because that's the expression of our soul and our spirituality.
4808 I'll just, with your permission, tell a little story that I found that was so delightful about finding a way to integrate cultures. There was a delightful story in the Vancouver Sun some months ago about a school in the east end of Vancouver that was, principally, Chinese children whose parents did not speak a lot of English. And the parents' group in that school were at their wit's end to try to find ways to involve the parents of these children in this school. And somebody had the brilliant idea of doing a dinner in the school, and they invited these mothers to come in and prepare the meal for one of their functions. And bingo, they had them there. It was the beginning of a friendship and involvement for these people who could not communicate in words, but they could communicate over a meal and the preparation of a meal.
4809 I can assure you that MVBC has been put on notice by their peers in the media and by their very local advisory board that they will be pillared and hung out to dry should they not deliver on their promise for quality programming.
4810 We have quality in our society. We have quality in our people and it behoves them to be respectful of what they find and what they see around them.
4811 The next word I'd like to focus on a little bit is the word "local." And the first thing that always gets my goat is when "local" is equated with mediocrity. There's always a sense around that nothing is good that's homemade. Well, I'm here to say that a homemade pie is much better than a store-bought pie. And it's one of the things that we have --
4812 THE CHAIRPERSON: Not mine.
4813 MS. FARIS: I don't bake pies either, Madam Chairman. I get my daughter to do that for me. It's one of the sentiments that we struggle so much with. I guess you would have known from my background that I work a lot with the arts in Vancouver, and I get so angry when people will say to me, for example, "I never attend Vancouver Opera. I only attend opera in Europe." Well, I have attended the opera in Europe and I know darn well that what we put on our stages in Vancouver, with the limited resources we have, is equal to anything that I have seen abroad, and quite often, much better. So that takes care of my feeling about what can be produced here as local endeavours.
4814 The other term of local, of course, has been the whole business of local ownership. And there's been a lot of emphasis on this, and I think rightly so, because this television program is going to be of the people, for the people, if I may use that much-happening phrase. There is no doubt, Commissioner Cardozo, that business can be a success being run by hired management as well as being run by owners, however, local ownership, in my opinion, means a greater commitment and a loyalty to the community in which they thrive, and will be always more sensitive to the nuances of that community.
4815 Messrs. Lau, Lee and Segal -- and every time I say that, those names, it brings a great smile to my face. I have known them for a long time. They have supported me through every endeavour that I have done, and I have wonderful stories of phoning Geoffrey Lau and said, "Geoffrey," and he'd say, "How large? What kind of cheque do you want?" I never have to beg because he respects what I do for my community, and he respects his community. Messrs. Lau, Lee and -- Lau, are well, very well known for their success in business, regulated and otherwise - Geoffrey Lau is in the business of brokerage, which is highly regulated - and I am sure they will be equally vigilant in this new adventure, and it is an adventure, as they have been with their other businesses.
4816 In the waning economic climate of B.C., of which you have heard much, these men did not choose to invest in more lucrative markets south of the border, or east of B.C., but rather, they have chosen to invest in their local community in a project that will be of great benefit to the ethnic community on many, many levels. This team is enhanced by the feisty Mr. Ho, and the level-headed Mr. Holtby.
4817 THE SECRETARY: Excuse me, Ms. Faris, could I ask you to wrap it up, please? We are past the time.
4818 MS. FARIS: Oh, are we? My gosh, I never knew I could talk so long. They have --
4819 THE CHAIRPERSON: We don't measure it by the number of days you've been here.
4820 MS. FARIS: I'm terribly sorry. They have proven experience in broadcast and I'm sure they will be giving of their best to make this a success. I am passionate about my community. This is where my children live, and this is the future of my children. My grandson, Omar, is so proud of his Chinese-Lebanese heritage that he always signs his school papers, "Omar Sung Dat Chu, and he's very happy -- and for him, it's normal to have a jidoo, a granny, and a yin-yin, and a ya-ya, and I want to keep it normal for him, and that's why this television station will be so important.
4821 I also have a September 11th story, and I will not bore you with the details, but that I could have been misrepresented and misquoted to the RCMP was a shock to me that will take a long time before I will ever get over that. I always thought I was one of the community, I didn't think I was one of them, as opposed to the "us".
4822 You are the folks who have the experience and the knowledge of what it takes to make a dynamic television station. We have to rely on your fairness and your best judgment, but I can only say that MVBC has been working incredibly hard for eight months. They have put their soul and body into this proposal, and they have a passion and a knowledge for their community, they have the resources and the vision to fulfil the CRTC mandate for this station. And should you grant them the license, I feel confident that they will be diligent in their efforts to validate your judgment. In the long run, it will be experience and wisdom that will prevail.
4823 Madam Chair, Commissioners, I thank you for your enormous patience, your experience, and your wisdom. I wish you a safe journey home.
4824 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Madam Faris. Commissioner Cardozo checked the rules and he tells me he has a right of reply.
4825 MS. FARIS: Certainly.
4826 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I want to thank you for challenging what I said, Ms. Faris, and I'd like to ask you a couple of questions just on that.
4827 MS. FARIS: Yes.
4828 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: This is the very purpose of a public hearing, is for us to ask you and applicants questions about the applications and also to share with your our doubts and say, you know, assure us that this is not what -- you know, if I have a doubt, I put that out. And just to clarify, the point I made about the dance and music on the video was a different comment from the issue of grassroots. And I want to ask you about both of them. In terms of dance and music, I agree with you, it's grassroots, but I would suggest to you that a multicultural television needs the dance and music, as nicely as it was put together on the video, plus a lot of other things which --
4829 MS. FARIS: Absolutely.
4830 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: -- deal with, talk about, explore, dramatize different sorts of issues, everything from the success of communities to the discrimination that people face. How do you as a ‑‑ you're an advisory board member?
4831 MS. FARIS: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
4832 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: How do you, as an advisory board member, ensure that the viewer gets this variety of programming and gets the good quality? And the reason I ask that - it was answered to quite an extent during this hearing - in the written application it was rather skimpy on the program descriptions. There was a lot of use of the word "lifestyles."
4833 MS. FARIS: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
4834 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: They had Scandinavian Lifestyles, German Lifestyles, and it didn't really give me, at least, enough sense of what it was, and I got some sense of that over the course of the answers. But how do you, as an advisory board member, ensure that you get good programming?
4835 MS. FARIS: Well, I would think that -- I know that Multivan has had long discourses with a lot of producers, and I am sure that once the license is granted that there will be an overflow of ideas that will be pouring in for creation and consideration. And I think, in my experience, that's the time that one will sit down to look at the ideas that are coming forth, to marry that with the best creators that, in your opinion, are there to make that happen, and it follows through on that process. And quality is a very difficult thing to quantify, I know, but I am sure that they'll have to rely on the people that they know, for example, the people that produced that video. I thought it was of particularly high quality.
4836 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Yes.
4837 MS. FARIS: So you'd have to use the best people available for the subject matter and to be all inclusive with producers and the other parties that are party to what makes good television, as opposed to light theatre, or whatever, and to be relevant to the community. And I would think that would be the role of the advisory committee, to look and say, "These are the ideas we have. What do you think will fly? What do you think will be of interest to people? Do you think the development of this idea for a show to show ‑‑ for children", because one of the functions I see this very helpful role of this station, would be to help to overcome that gap between the generations, you know, the eternal problem between the first generation and the children who wants to be different, but they -- wants to be part of the mainstream, but they know they're different. It's an incredible area that needs to be worked on and we have to look at the ideas that come forth and the best people to produce them.
4838 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I'm just talking --
4839 MS. FARIS: I'm a bit winded, but I'm trying to go through --
4840 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: No, just looking at your background, you're obviously a very busy person. Are you prepared to put in the time to rattle the cage when the quality is not there?
4841 MS. FARIS: Well, I'll tell you, Commissioner, I gave up four days of being with my darling grandchildren to be here because I'm interested in what's happening. I always say that busy people always have time and only boring people are bored, so there's always time.
4842 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I just want to assure you, I have not been bored at all this week.
4843 On the matter of grassroots, the comment I made was that I'd never seen so many university chancellors in one room.
4844 MS. FARIS: Neither have I, for that matter.
4845 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: And I also said that because they were successful businesspeople with, a) deep pockets, and access to finances, that they would be very useful for a business that is not going to be a money maker. Tell me what your sense is. Are they connected to the grassroots? Are you and your fellow board members -- there are a lot of very accomplished people associated with Multivan, and I don't doubt that. And I guess when I talk about grassroots, I think of either young people, or people who have been living their lives quietly and then have, at some point in their life, decided to get involved in the community and they haven't spent years being successful, you know, either being very rich, or being very successful in the kind of volunteer work that you do, but who may just do the one thing, you know, the school council, or the neighbourhood watch, or a heritage language class once a week. The people who are in touch with -- and I guess I'm digging my grave here, because I don't want to suggest that you're not in touch with people every day.
4846 MS. FARIS: Please don't do that.
4847 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Yes, and I'm sorry if I do that. I'm thinking of people who may not have seen life from the height you have, and met people of influence that you have, but people who live -- are hardworking, et cetera, you know whatever "grassroots" means. Do you sense that this company is going to be in touch with the grassroots enough, people who are -- well, I shouldn't explain what I mean any more.
4848 MS. FARIS: I would rather think that my life has more depth than height, and I've always been very, very conscious of -- I think this is part of being Jamaican. I must tell you that last night, I was going to read from a letter I had last night. I'm glad I didn't because I ran out of time. I got an unsolicited letter from somebody I hardly knew, and he said, "I would like" -- he's a member of the Vancouver Orchestra. I know his name, but I don't know him personally. He wrote to thank my husband and I on our involvement with the community, and he said to me in the letter, he said, "Your name crops up in the most unlikely places." I really, truly believe, and I sense that from my peers, that we keep in touch. I read everything available about what's happening in my community, and I'm always appalled, I'm always appalled that when I was doing fundraising, for example, I would go to one of our CEOs of a very big company and I would be soliciting funds to send our opera ensemble into the downtown eastside schools, and those need to be sponsored and paid for. And I actually had the experience by one of the CEOs, and so your question is well taken, who asked me what section of town was I referring to when I spoke to the downtown eastside centre. And I was appalled that somebody in the business committee did not know and, consequently, would not know of the problems, the drugs, the prostitution, what these young souls were facing in their everyday life, and that's why they need to get opera and music, and so on.
4849 Having said that, I don't feel that about -- or I know that's not true of these three gentlemen, and I speak mostly about Mr. Lee and Mr. Lau and Joe Segal only because -- oh, you are Mr. Segal too -- only because I know them so much better and I have worked with them. They are connected. They do so much for this committee from all walks of life. They're not only chancellors of universities, hospitals, United Way, it goes on and on and on. And I must tell you that when Geoffrey Lau phoned and asked me to be part of this, I immediately said, "Geoffrey, whatever you are involved with, I'm there with you," because I had so much confidence in the integrity, the passion, the commitment of these men to their community.
4850 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. I thank you very much for that.
4851 MS. FARIS: Thank you.
4852 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'll have to warn Commissioner Cardozo that if he digs himself a grave, there is nothing in the rules for me to dig him out.
4853 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Pennefather?
4854 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Madam Chair. I just wanted to ask you to expand a little more on something. You touched on young people. Why do you think young people would watch the service which Multivan proposes?
4855 MS. FARIS: Well, I think it behoves Multivan to create programming that young people will want to watch. You know, I'm not an experienced programmer, and so I would have to rely on their judgment.
4856 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Do you think it's important?
4857 MS. FARIS: I think it's very important.
4858 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Why?
4859 MS. FARIS: Because we're making future citizens, and I -- one of the statements I made about my grandson that's so proud of his heritage, and as I said, to him, the normal thing is to have a jidoo, and a granny, and a yin-yin, and a ya-ya. That's normal for him. But the reality of this community, my shock about being reported when I said something about September 11 was so immense because I thought I have proven my belongingness, but obviously, it's not there yet, and this is what we need to cultivate. We need to -- I hate the word "tolerance." We need to cultivate understanding and caring. And one of the analogies I had going through this was that a wet nurse can suckle and care for a child, but it's the parents who are responsible for the growth, the development, and the nurturing of that child. And I see us having a role to play in nurturing our young people.
4860 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you very much.
4861 MS. FARIS: Thank you very much.
4862 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms. Faris.
4863 MS. FARIS: Thank you for your patience. You've been great people to watch at work.
4864 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Madam Secretary, please.
4865 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair. For the record, our next presenter is unavailable to appear, but I do believe that Vanessa Yang will be reading the speech for Peter Savvas. Would you like to come forward.
4866 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. You don't look like a Peter.
4867 MS. YANG: I can try and act like Peter, if you'd like. Good morning, Madam Chair and Members of the Commission. My name is Peter Savvas and I am a member of the Greek community of B.C.
4868 THE CHAIRPERSON: I have to check the rules on that.
4869 MS. YANG: I would like to say that I fully support the proposal of Multivan Broadcast Corporation to launch a multicultural television station to serve more than 800,000 ethnic residents around the Lower Mainland by fall 2002.
4870 I've been a media man for over 30 years. I've worked with an established Greek radio and TV company in Toronto for a few years so my knowledge and qualifications in radio and television programming have been extensive.
4871 I am a person who really likes technological progress, and I am an engineer as well, and I welcome options in different media, for example, the digital and internet media.
4872 I was one of the founding producers of Premier Cablevision and Western Cablevision, Rogers, and I produced my own show, Hellenic Vision, for 14 years, from 1979 through the end of 1993.
4873 Since then, I developed the SCMO signal and broadcast my own radio station on SCMO for 13 years. Currently, I am broadcasting a 24-hour radio station on the internet at www.helenicmedia.com.
4874 Because of my vast experience in the Greek language media, I know that the Greek population in the Greater Vancouver area is very much in need of the multicultural programming which the Multivan team has proposed.
4875 It took a lot of time and continuous efforts to bring the discussion to this stage. My community wants to see a great TV program done locally. It is very important for young people, the younger generation of Greeks, to be able to preserve their culture and heritage and to be proud of their ethnic roots. We want them to feel free to express themselves through the program and be an integral part of it. Our community has not had any local representation since January 1st, 1994, although they are subscribers of cablevision. They supported their license and they had programming for 14 years, from 1979 until the end of 1993, with me as the sole producer.
4876 Regarding the Greek programs, my community, although small in size, has a lot of functions which we need to promote, not only for my community but for the other communities as well. We have Greek schools, organizations, societies, communities as well, and all these sources want to have a voice.
4877 We are very proud to be part of the process for a new license for a locally run multicultural channel by the MVBC team. With most of the presenters you are seeing here today, friends and colleagues, very talented and very capable, who will do the best for their respective communities, I am very proud to be in the same team as well.
4878 Madam Chair and members of the Commission, for this purpose we have acquired some letters of support for this application. The letters have been filed and are in the CRTC's files.
4879 I would like to reaffirm my support of this application and, together with my community, to thank you for letting me share my views with you. The need is great, not for the old but for the younger generation, and I urge you to look upon it sympathetically.
4880 In conclusion, I thank you for the opportunity to appear in support of this application and for your patience. Thank you.
4881 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. We've come a long way when a young woman of Asian heritage makes a presentation for a man of Greek heritage.
4882 MS. YANG: Oh. Well, I've had the privilege of meeting Mr. Savvas and he's a very talented and generous man.
4883 THE CHAIRPERSON: But it is quite interesting. Give our best to Mr. Savvas and you can tell him that you did a great job.
4884 MS. YANG: Oh, thank you very much.
4885 THE CHAIRPERSON: We'll now take a 10-minute break. We'll be back in 10 minutes.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1000 / Suspension à 1000
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1010 / Reprise à 1010
4886 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
4887 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair. Our next presenter is Nathalie Potocka. Please go ahead whenever you're ready, and just press the button. That's great.
4888 MS. POTOCKA: Good morning, dear ladies and gentlemen. Bonjour, mesdames et messieurs. Hi, colleagues. My name is Nathalie Potocka, P‑o‑t‑o‑c‑k‑a. Unfortunately, I cannot make anything with the spelling, Britannica, volume number 9, says about this family.
4889 Well, I am descendant of Potocki family, and people who are descendants from Europe probably know there's family and know history of this family, which are associated with such names as Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt and also French painter, Jacques-Louis David. Family been sponsors and supporters of art and music for many centuries. And today I represent two communities, Russian community and the Polish community.
4890 I'm here as president of Russian Business Cultural Association. We are affiliate of International Russian Business Cultural Association, which is registered in London, and Princess Romanova is our patron and living president.
4891 About myself. I came from St. Petersburg, former Leningrad, which is considered as the cultural capital of Russia. I have 25 years, even more, of experience in education and promotion of classical music and arts. I am an organizer of numerous international cultural events in Canada, Europe and Russia.
4892 In St. Petersburg, I used to be executive producer and hostess of TV series, Moral and Cultural Values of Modern Society, and this series included participation of such people as Maestro Rostropovitch, a well known cellist; conductor Timercanov; painter Glazunov; and other leading writers, musicians and artists. Topics included dictatorship and personal freedom, historic discrimination of national minority, war and religion.
4893 I came to Canada in 1990, and I did almost the same thing, but not on TV. I produced and I staged several recitals, and I organized a few festivals inviting international-level musicians, artists and painters.
4894 At the present time, I am acting director of Potocka Music and Arts International, and we providing cultural exchange, concerts, festivals, exhibitions, master classes and educational projects. I consider myself as a journalist, writer, lecturer, and my topics are cultural diversity, national identity, history, philosophy, religion and arts. I'm a producer of CD, and I consider myself as a bilingual person, Russian and English, and I'm conversable with Russian. Of course it's my first language, and it is my profession. I have my master's in Russian literature. I actually have a master's in literature, in music, and I have my bachelor's in ballet. It's back to my education in Russia. And I'm conversant in German, French and Italian.
4895 A few things I want to mention here. About programs, what does it mean, multicultural programs. First, I want to clarify things. What does it mean, for example, Russian or Polish channel? What people mean by saying, "We have a program."
4896 First, of course, Russian population, which is 30,000. And it is not just Russian people; it is Russian-speaking people who came from former Soviet Union, just people of different nationalities, and they speak Russian language and they consider themselves as Russian. They need to have a channel. They need to have a program which will give them chance to listen, to hear their own language. But at the same time, those people will be proud if the rest of society, English-speaking people will be able to know more about Russian culture, which we consider not as only culture for Russians. It is international culture. It is for everybody, same as any culture, big or small, but culture of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, we believe belongs to all nations and generations, and we would never mention those names if it will be different. Same as music by Chopin belongs not only Polish people. People around the world and through centuries play this music and they cry when they listen to mazurkas, but it does not mean that it is Polish music. It belongs to all of us.
4897 Why it is so important? It is a pride and it is a dignity. It is the certain qualities which each of us need to not feel himself lost in the new society.
4898 Russian immigration has a few waves. We name it waves. First people, Russian-speaking people, the real Russian people, they came to Canada, and particularly to Vancouver, right after Revolution. They came through China, through Harbin. And next wave, it is just a few families came right after Second World War, and many people ‑‑ it was mostly, if we can say, Russian-Jewish immigration, they came in '70s, and big, big stream of immigrants came in '90s, 10 years ago, at that time when I came. And people still coming to Vancouver. People love this place, and people are quite active, and there's lots of professionals.
4899 Old generation. This is our concern. Those people have a problem with understanding and they need the channel, because their psychological condition actually affects the rest of their family.
4900 And children. And children are our future, as all of us know. And present affects the future, as always.
4901 But at the same time, we will be really proud to have a chance to talk about Russian culture, which never been chauvinistic or nationalistic, which always had a different influences from Asian, southern cultures, and always been open minded.
4902 We will talk about projects or ideas, or why I'm here, and why I'm with Multivan, with all my respects from our colleagues. And just let me express my appreciation for such wonderful speeches, and for some very good programs which Rogers have, and just really, I appreciate it and it was a pleasure to listen to. Thank you. Actually, it's not only good words about colleagues or nothing.
4903 Why I'm with Multivan, personally, I can see Multivan as an absolutely unique structure which is owned by visible minority, only one, and highly professional people, from my point of view, with qualities as open-mindedness, responsibility, dignity, and sensitivity, and above all, talented, which is most important. Otherwise, I think better to do something different. Actually, talent is important in all areas of our life, and I think that most important that talented businessmen appreciate the talented artists.
4904 I have a few proposals, and we already discussed with people from Multivan. I will be happy because now I can see this chance, and I can see team with which I will be able to produce something what I did 10 years ago from different perspective ‑‑ with my expertise, with my knowledge ‑‑ serious moral and cultural values of modern society. I just want to make a point that moral meaning it is just literal translation, but meaning is little bit different here in Canada. Actually, in western civilization, moral associated more with religious meaning, and things which I did, it was more ethical and cultural values, according to Britannica. It will be more correct to say ethnical and cultural values of modern society. Actually, we invited religious leaders, and it was quite valuable impact to society.
4905 Another proposition is festival, the Taste of Europe, and I think it will be same interest for society as festival, Asian Heritage Month, which I've been involved. It is not just for European people, but it would be great chance to unite people and European descendants to remember their background.
4906 THE SECRETARY: Excuse me, Ms. Potocka, can I ask you to move to your conclusion now. You are past the time limit.
4907 MS. POTOCKA: Sorry for inconvenience.
4908 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4909 MS. POTOCKA: Well, I will do it. This festival will be important because local businesses could be involved with dining, and French Impressionism and Italian Renaissance could present their best qualities, and it will give dignity to the rest of immigrants. And few things I just want to say at the rest. Madam Roosevelt mentioned once ‑‑ she was a very sharp lady ‑‑"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Poor minds discuss people."
4910 I'm grateful for the opportunity which Multivan gave to me to discuss ideas. Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup.
4911 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms. Potocka. Merci.
4912 MS. POTOCKA: Any questions?
4913 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, we don't have any questions. Usually a sign that Commissioner Cardozo is satisfied with your position. He's got it. Thank you. Madam Secretary, please.
4914 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair. Our next presenter is Leon Yu. Would you like to come forward, please. Excuse me, please put on your speaker.
4915 MR. YU: Good morning. I know the time is precious. I will just be very brief, and I may use some of the time I may not be using at the end because I've still got to introduce myself, but I want to make points first. Firstly --
4916 THE CHAIRPERSON: I only set the clock after introduction, as long as it doesn't last more than a few seconds.
4917 MR. YU: My name is Leon Yu. I'm a practicing lawyer in Vancouver Chinatown since 1979. I practice real estate law, and I serve many members of the Chinese-Canadian community that requires legal services in Cantonese, or in Mandarin. And I've been living in this area for more than 34 years. Since August of 1967, I've seen Vancouver develop from a very quiet port known for the beauty of its harbour, for the surrounding mountains, into a major international city now known for its dynamism, its proximity to Whistler, and to the many multicultural communities now it contains.
4918 I have personal associations with the principals of Multivan. Mr. James Ho runs a radio station in this community at this time. I have been asked through his various program directors to devote half a day of my time on a pro bono basis to be the guest commentator on their legal services program. It's the Fung Ying program and now usually it's Friday afternoon from five to six o'clock, and from the Fung Ying contacts with the local Chinese, Cantonese and Mandarin-speaking communities, I got a feeling that this format that the ownership being situated locally, the members of the audience and the community that it serves have a direct input to the issues that is in front of all the community at any one time is very, very important. So I would treat that to be my introduction.
4919 I want to make three points to the Commission. Firstly, is my general understanding of the multicultural communities of Canada. In Canada, its multicultural communities are essentially local in nature. The national origins, the relative percentage make-ups, and the degree of "Canadianization," or mainstreaming, for lack of a better word, in each of, say, the Greater Toronto area, the Greater Montreal area, the Greater Vancouver area, or the Edmonton/Calgary conglomerate, are very different.
4920 These multicultural communities have been developing constantly and they are going to develop constantly in the future. Local ownership of the ethnic TV station who serve the ongoing needs of these communities interest best.
4921 The deep local roots of the principals of Multivan ensures sensitive delivery of programs in this ever-evolving, ever-Canadianizing, ever-mainstreaming communities of our Greater Vancouver area.
4922 My second point is on the experiences, the broadcasting experiences of the principals of Multivan. I do believe that the -- it's my understanding that the Commission has received submissions from various interveners on the "lack of broadcasting experiences of the principals of Multivan." The truth or the lack of truth of this line of submission is not my intention to defend, and need not be defended by me. But assuming the truth of this line of submission, it's my submission to the Commission that for an ethnic TV licensee, this may actually be an advantage. It may be an advantage in disguise, to serve the better interests of the viewing public, of the community that it intends to serve.
4923 The Commission is not, at this time, assessing the merits of an application for a TV broadcasting license serving Canada from coast to coast to coast. To serve a national audience, being a very entrenched player in the field may be an advantage, but it's my submission that to serve the multicultural communities of Greater Vancouver, a national licensee with established operating and programming systems, with decision making concentrated in central Canada will actually adversely affect the growth and the natural development of the kind of programs that our evolving communities may need.
4924 The third and final point, the financial strength. The principals of Multivan are individuals deeply committed to a multicultural Canada. Most of them are personally known to me for many years, and they are deeply committed to the well beings of the citizens of the Greater Vancouver area.
4925 Multivan Broadcasting has presented to the Commission a very realistic and practical business plan. I'm personally confident and I know if the Commission sees fit to grant the TV license to Multivan, the applicant's principals will fully deliver -- it's a slip, I should have switched that off, but I don't think it's the Secretary's warning.
4926 THE CHAIRPERSON: You know that that's an indictable offence?
4927 MR. YU: I think that I have to speak to my lawyer first.
4928 As I was saying, that I'm personally confident and I know if the Commission sees fit to grant the TV license to Multivan, the applicant's principals will fully delivery and will actually exceed the commitments and undertakings that they have given to the Commission. I sincerely urge the Commission to grant the ethnic TV license to Multivan Broadcasting Corporation. Thank you very much, and if there are any questions that the panel may have, I'm quite willing to answer to the best of my ability.
4929 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just one, Mr. Yu. When you're on your half-hour program, you'll turn off your phone?
4930 MR. YU: I turn off my phone, quite definitely. I've got a very good host. I mean, he remind me. Dr. Philip Yong (phonetic) remind me every time that --
4931 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's unfortunate I haven't been able to intimidate you as easily.
4932 MR. YU: Thank you, madam.
4933 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you for your participation. I understand we have no questions. Thank you. Madam Secretary, please.
4934 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair. There are three more presenters to go. Is Rishi Sharma in the audience? Is Rino Vultaggio in the audience? And is Dr. Frances Ho in the audience? That concludes the list of interveners.
4935 THE CHAIRPERSON: I believe that concludes Phase III. We will now proceed to Phase IV, but we will give you 25 minutes to prepare your reply, and we'll be back at 11:00.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1035 / Suspension à 1035
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1100 / Reprise à 1100
4936 THE CHAIRPERSON: The next phase of this part of the hearing, I understand that the next applicant is already here. Depending on how this proceeds, we may hear the presentation of the next applicant before we break for lunch so don't disappear. It will depend on timing, but I understand that the applicant is here, and I would urge them to stay. Thank you. Madam Secretary, please.
4937 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair. We now enter Phase IV of the proceeding, which is where the applicants, in reverse order, appear to rebut or comment on interventions that have been made. And you are allowed 10 minutes maximum for this phase. So the first is Multivan Broadcast Corporation. Please go ahead.
4938 THE CHAIRPERSON: Come back, Mr. Lee, in your place.
4939 MR. LEE: Good morning, Madam Chair, Members of the Commission and staff. My name is Bob Lee, and I'm here with my fellow shareholders, James Ho, Doug Holtby, Geoffrey Lau, Joe Segal, and our advisory council chair, Monika Deol.
4940 First of all, I would like to thank the many individuals and groups who have written letters and taken time out of their busy schedules to come to the hearing and express their points of view. I would also like to thank those who filed negative interventions. Their participation is a clear demonstration of how vibrant our ethnic communities are in Vancouver. We are particularly pleased that some 1,500 individuals and organizations took the time to express to you, in their own words, their support for our application. They come from a wide range of backgrounds, including producers of multicultural programming, individuals and cultural community leaders.
4941 While I hesitate to single out one group, I would like to make a special mention of our advisory council. You have now been able to see some of them for yourself and hear directly from them. We are confident they have impressed you in their commitment to the city, and their incredible involvement with ethnic communities and organization. They are an important part of our Multivan family, and we can't thank them enough for their volunteer support and advice. We will now reply to interventions.
4942 MR. HO: Thank you, Bob. Well, I will address some of the negative interventions. Fairchild has argued that there should be a limit on the amount of Chinese-language programming that we can hear. However, the Commission did not ask if we would limit our Chinese-language programming, and we consider our proposal level of programs is appropriate for the following reasons.
4943 Conservatively, there are some 300,000 people of Chinese origin in Vancouver, more people than Saskatoon, which is served by three over-the-air television stations. The Chinese population makes up about 46% of the third language population in our city. Multivan's Chinese language programming is less than 20% of our schedule. Fairchild would have us further reduce service to the largest ethnic community in the city.
4944 We have deliberately chosen a complementary approach to designing our schedule. Most of the Fairchild program is foreign. Most of ours is local. Their prime time is filled with Chinese entertainment programming; ours is news. Fairchild has little to fear from us. In fact, it will benefit because another seller will make national buyers more aware of the potential of the Chinese market.
4945 A number of ethnic producers have also intervened against both applications to express their concerns about the status of the Shaw Multicultural Channel. We would like to reassure these producers. Ethnic communities in Vancouver deserve as much service as possible. Once again, our complementary approach means we will schedule our programs to maximize the viewing opportunities for each group. It is also important to emphasize that we approached Shaw Cable to express our support for the multicultural channel, and we will continue to have discussions with them. We are optimistic we will all, ourselves, producers affected, and Shaw, will be able to achieve a solution in the best interests of multicultural broadcasting in Vancouver.
4946 We are committed to working with all producers to ensure even greater service to our communities. We will be inclusive.
4947 On Tuesday, you heard from Sushma Datt of I.T. Productions. We did approach her and we had positive discussions. We have assured her of our willingness to continue working with her. She continues to be a valuable producer of programming that is broadcast on my CHMB multicultural radio station.
4948 Yesterday, you heard from Maria Fonseca. It is unfortunate that she has resigned as a producer at CHMB. There was a disagreement and I truly believe she misinterpreted certain statements and events. In her anger, she said that I did not fulfil commitments I made to the CRTC in the operation of CHMB. This is absolutely not true, and CHMB's recent license renewal is my best response to such unfounded allegations.
4949 It is surprising, but Rogers has alleged Multivan has no clear plan for our local programming. Trying to take advantage of Commissioner Cardozo's comments on our video, Mr. Wong actually described our local programming as only presenting "faces" and characterized our use of the title, "Lifestyles" for many of our programs as an indication that we will not deal with serious issues of interest to our communities. Let me repeat that the programs grouped as "Lifestyles" is only a working description. The programs will deal with all of the issues that are of interest, including serious matters relevant to the community. The real difference is that we didn't sit in Toronto and adapt an existing schedule to try to make it a local Vancouver television.
4950 We have not scheduled a weekly multicultural show to deal with the many issues that cross cultural borders. We have earmarked $900,000 per year for the development of new programs with special emphasis on high quality specials, including documentaries, town halls, and other means of stimulating discussion. This will allow us to be flexible and always relevant.
4951 MR. HOLTBY: Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, I'm going to deviate from my written submission slightly.
4952 Last night, as I was reflecting on this hearing, I was struck with the similarities of this proceeding with a hearing that I attended in early 1980s, and those were the pay hearings. And in those proceedings, Allarcom, the station that I operated in Edmonton, applied for a regional pay license for Alberta, and along with four Ontario shareholders, we applied for a regional license in Ontario. And every national applicant at that hearing said that we couldn't survive. Thank goodness the Commission didn't listen to them and they did license our two regional applications, and two national applicants. One of those national applicants went broke, and the other one, until it was rescued by Astral, was in very serious trouble.
4953 Now, I don't say that because -- and I don't profess to say we're any smarter than anyone else, but as Peter Legge said yesterday, we knew our markets. I think that was a fundamental difference in those times. And secondly, we were spending our own money. I had mortgaged my house to make my investment in Ontario, and it was important to us to succeed. Now I'll go back to the script. Thank you.
4954 Rogers has tried to frame our application as deficient and misleading. To assist everyone and respond to Rogers, we have prepared a comparison of key commitments for the two applications. It is attached to these speaking notes, and a copy has been given to Rogers. Let's take a look at what each of us proposes to put on the television screen and deliver to the people of Vancouver.
4955 According to their schedule, they will provide 76 hours of ethnic programming each week. Our schedule proposes 86. Their schedule proposes 65 and a half hours of third language programming. Ours proposes 70. Rogers proposes 52 and a half hours per week of local production, of which 32 will be original. We propose 60 hours, of which 47 and a quarter will be original. Rogers proposes 20 hours of news each week. We propose 28 original hours, as was clearly outlined in our reply to deficiencies, and not revealed for the first time in Tuesday's discussions, as Rogers alleges.
4956 Let's take a look at how the stations will be operated. Rogers will hire a local manager, who will work with manuals and procedures sent from Toronto. Everyone associated with Multivan, owners, advisory council, employees and producers, will be here in Vancouver.
4957 After eight years, their advisory council consists of two members. We have a volunteer advisory council of 13 volunteers, who themselves speak 15 languages.
4958 After eight years, they have yet to make arrangements with independent producers. They will wait to see if they get a license. We have had extensive discussions and presented arrangements with some 25 producers.
4959 Rogers has made much of its spending initiatives, but let's also compare our respective programming expenses. They will spend $19.9 million over the license term on news. We will spend $22.1 million. Their total spending on Canadian programs to be telecast will be $50.5 million. We will spend $54.1 million.
4960 Rogers indicates that our business plan is not viable, but let's look at the bottom line. Over seven years, they project losses of $67.3 million, without a profit in any of the seven years. Our accumulated loss is projected to be $1.7 million, with pre-tax profits starting in year four. Their dependency on bank debt of $80 million by the end of the license term makes them very vulnerable to economic downturns. Our shareholder funding of $12.5 million initially, and more, if necessary, makes our business plan more realistic and viable.
4961 Both of us are using the Commission's 60/40 model. The key to this model is the economic success of the 40 percent non-ethnic. It is the same for both of us. But we will not be going to the market as a vulnerable, stand-alone operation. We will have access to excellent programming through a variety of sources, including CTV, Craig, CHUM, and CFMT. You might want to confirm with CFMT that they would readily sell to us if we were licensed.
4962 In a question, Commissioner Wilson suggested that we really have quite a --
4963 THE SECRETARY: Excuse me, we are past the time allotted with the rebuttal phase. Could I ask you to conclude your remarks?
4964 MR. HOLTBY: I'll finish my remarks. That we have set quite a challenge for ourselves. We really haven't. It's actually less of a challenge than our competitor faces. For us, it is a challenge that can be controlled by the reliance on the Commission's proven 60/40 model, our intimate knowledge of Vancouver audiences and our extensive experience in broadcasting, both locally and nationally.
4965 The only way the Rogers business plan and its excessive levels of debt make sense is if LMtv is the start of a national network for multicultural programming. We predict that if you license Vancouver to Rogers, that Montreal would not be far behind. The call in this proceeding is for an over-the-air ethnic television station for Vancouver. Licensing Rogers will create a network with CFMT and open the door to CJNT. More importantly, you will be closing the door to any entrant and any local ownership in over-the-air multicultural broadcasting in Canada.
4966 Finally, when it comes to the issue of broadcasting experience, I have to tell the Commission that I take personal offence to the statements by Mr. Wong. Among other things, Mr. Wong wants you to think that LMtv will hit the street running, and that Multivan will take two or three years to develop as we learn television. Let me assure you that we will be excellent from day one. I say this with the benefit of over 20 years of television broadcasting and more than 10 years of experience in ethnic broadcasting in Vancouver enjoyed by James Ho.
4967 We have identified five potential managers for our company, all of whom are experienced television broadcasters and well known to the Commission. I also say this with the benefit of a shareholder group with more years experience in starting and successfully running businesses than we can count. We will all be there for you, granting us the license. We will not let the people of Vancouver down. Thank you.
4968 MR. LEE: Madam Chair, Commissioner and staff, we stated in our opening remarks that this is an extremely important proceeding for our citizens of Vancouver. We have been impressed with the careful scrutiny that both applications have received. We would like to thank you and the Commission staff for your dedication and hard work. If I may, I would like to thank Marguerite Vogel for her patience and assistance with requests from ourselves and interveners. Her scheduling guidance has been very much appreciated.
4969 We wish you well in your important deliberation and we would be pleased to answer your questions.
4970 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Holtby, Mr. Ho, Mr. Lee. LMtv, you've just got yourself three more minutes. Questions? Counsel?
4971 COMMISSION COUNSEL: I don't have any questions, thank you, Madam Chair.
4972 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's it. We thank you very much for your cooperation.
4973 MR. LEE: Thank you.
4974 THE CHAIRPERSON: And for staying with us long hours, and laughing any time I tried to make you laugh.
4975 MR. LEE: Thank you, all. Thank you very much.
4976 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. We will stop for five minutes to allow an orderly change of panels. We're not leaving, but we'll give you a few minutes. Madam Secretary, please.
4977 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair. And the next presentation will be by CFMT. Please go ahead.
4978 MR. VINER: Thank you, Madam Chair. Mr. Wong will be reading some comments for the record in a few moments. I just wanted to take the opportunity to briefly respond to this wonderful and unique chart provided by Multivan. And just to run through it quickly, Madam Chair, we are and have argued that the financial decisions for this service will be here in Vancouver, rather than in Toronto. Just to correct for the record, I think the hours of local production, which show quite clearly on our application, as opposed to the Multivan application, is 67.5, and in response, I think, to a question from counsel or the Chair, that our commitment is to 60 hours of local production.
4979 We mentioned with respect to the hours of news in our intervention that both the application which states that there is 365 hours of South Asian news, and 365 hours of repeats, and the same numbers for Chinese news, those were both repeats. And in response to a deficiency, I think Multivan also answered that those were repeats, and as we mentioned earlier in our intervention, it's clear to us that 14 of those 28 hours that are mentioned there are, indeed, repeats.
4980 I think the most important thing of all, of course, is the spending on Canadian programs. Fifty point five million, of course, does not include the $27 million in real investment that we intend to make in order to stimulate a ethnic production industry here in British Columbia. I think that's the only comments I would make on the chart. Mr. Wong?
4981 MR. WONG: Thanks, Tony. Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, I'd like to begin by thanking the Commission for the thorough manner in which you conducted this hearing. Many complex issues have been addressed, and all parties, applicants and interveners alike have had an opportunity to share their views with the Commission as part of this very public proceeding.
4982 Many interveners who support the MVBC application spoke very eloquently about the need for multilingual television in Vancouver, and we agree with them.
4983 Some interveners also spoke very highly of the local investors in the MVBC ownership group. The financial backers of MVBC's application are fine members of our community. Bob Lee, Joe Segal, and Geoffrey Lau have, over the years, been generous and gracious people. Doug Holtby did a great job in conventional television. James Ho is undoubtedly a competent multicultural radio broadcaster.
4984 However, the Commission's decision must be based on the overall merits of the applications that are before it. In that regard, we will respond to five issues arising from the interventions.
4985 First, support for the independent production community. The Commission has heard from many local independent producers who currently produce for the Shaw Multicultural Channel, or who are otherwise involved in the independent production industry. A few express concern that their production opportunities would be limited by the licensing of a multilingual television station. We respectfully disagree. Our application will create new opportunities for local independent producers and significantly more opportunities than had been proposed by MVBC.
4986 The Community Producers Showcase will give new producers, especially producers from smaller ethnic communities, their first real opportunity to produce broadcast-quality ethnic programming.
4987 The B.C. Independent Producers Initiative will provide $27 million in funding for the production of dramatic and documentary programming in third languages, and for script and concept development by B.C. based independent producers. All funding decisions will be made here in B.C. by LMtv programming staff, in consultation with the LMtv Advisory Board.
4988 We hope that all of the independent producers, whether they supported our application, or not, will be part of these important initiatives.
4989 Second, the potential impact of LMtv on the Fairchild Television Services. In their intervention, Fairchild Television suggested that the advertising revenues generated by LMtv's programming in Chinese languages would come entirely at their expense. Our research shows that LMtv's programming will complement the programming on the Fairchild services.
4990 Viewers have said that they will watch LMtv in addition to the third language services that are currently available to them. Our experience in Toronto shows that there is considerable potential to grow the ethnic television advertising market in Vancouver. It is currently only half the size of the market in Toronto, as a percentage of the total television advertising market.
4991 In addition, I want to reiterate that we have agreed to a cap of 18 hours on our programming in Chinese languages. The Fairchild Television Services are valued by their viewers and advertisers. If you approve our application, we look forward to building the ethnic television market in Vancouver with them.
4992 Third, the commitment to ethnic programming. References were made in the intervention phase of this hearing to the amount of ethnic programming that each applicant would provide. To be clear on this point, both applicants have agreed to accept a condition of license requiring them to provide 60 percent ethnic programming.
4993 Fourth, the status of KBCB. Conflicting information has been placed on the record with respect to this U.S. television service. We want to confirm that although KBCB is available over the air in the U.S., it is not available here in Vancouver. KBCB has authority to increase its transmission power so that its signal will cover Vancouver, but is awaiting the outcome of this hearing before finalizing its plans.
4994 Fifth, the specific merits of each application. All of the interveners have identified specific aspects of the two applications that they believe are important for the Commission to consider. Many interveners felt that it would be important for the successful applicant to have proven experience and expertise in multicultural television broadcasting. Only LMtv has that.
4995 Many interveners identified the importance of creating new opportunities for local and B.C. based independent ethnic producers. LMtv has committed to provide $27 million in new and additional funding for local independent producers. It is not clear what MVBC has committed to.
4996 Many interveners felt that it would be extremely important for a local, multicultural television station to offer high-quality programming, including news from the perspective of our local communities. Only LMtv will do that, with bureaus in Victoria, Ottawa, and Asia Pacific. We are the only applicant proposing to explore serious social issues, such as immigration and positive portrayal.
4997 We will also provide programming in 15 languages in prime time, compared to only 10 languages for MVBC.
4998 Some interveners have referred to the number of letters of support the applicants have received and to the length of time that the applicant has been actively consulting with local communities. LMtv has been meeting with local groups and individuals for eight years, and received 1,600 letters of support from individuals alone.
4999 Some interveners have stated that the Commission should ensure that the successful applicant has a clearly articulated, national social vision. Only LMtv has set out such a vision, backed by thoughtful and specific programming initiatives.
5000 Some interveners have placed emphasis on the presence of local investors and the ownership structure of a multilingual television station. Other interveners have suggested that local management combined with an effective local advisory board, such as we propose, will ensure that the new multilingual television station is responsible to the communities that it serves.
5001 Clearly, LMtv's application more fully and effectively addresses the key issues that were raised by the interveners.
5002 Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, I want to thank you once again for the thoroughness of this hearing. I'd like to acknowledge the CRTC staff for their hard work and assistance throughout this proceeding. I also want to thank the many people who took the time to come to this hearing to support our application and to contribute to this important public process.
5003 Finally, I want to acknowledge MVBC and their supporters. This has been a competitive process, but not a device of process. We are all united in our desire to see our ethnic communities flourish and grow as part of a diverse, accepting multicultural society. Thank you. We would be pleased to answer any questions.
5004 THE CHAIRPERSON: How are we doing for time, Madam Secretary?
5005 THE SECRETARY: We're fine for time.
5006 THE CHAIRPERSON: You're fine, as well? You feel you've had a full opportunity to -- counsel, please.
5007 COMMISSION COUNSEL: I just have one minor point of clarification. One of the interveners, Juan Miguez, filed a chart, that he said that LMtv had prepared and it compares the LMtv proposal and the MVBC proposal, and I just wanted to confirm that LMtv did produce this and hadn't given it to the interveners. And I can show it to you.
5008 MR. WONG: Yes.
5009 COMMISSION COUNSEL: Thank you. I don't have any other questions.
5010 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much to you, as well, and I wish to reiterate to both groups of applicants and to all the interveners, we thank them for their cooperation in ensuring that this is an important professional, but civil process. Thank you.
5011 We will take a five-minute break and hear the presentation by the Miracle Channel before having our lunch.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1130 / Suspension à 1130
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1140 / Reprise à 1140
5012 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order please. We will now proceed with the second part of the hearing, which is an application for the renewal of the Miracle Channel, in Lethbridge. Before I call upon the secretary, welcome, first of all, and we will hear your presentation, then take an hour for lunch and come back with the questioning. Madam Secretary, please.
5013 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair. For the record, I will just read in what the application is for. It's for the renewal of Miracle Channel's television station, CJIL-TV in Lethbridge, and its transmitter in Bow Island. The Commission notes the apparent failure of the licensee during the 1998 to '99 broadcast year to comply with Sections 4(6) and 4(7) of the Television Broadcasting Regulations with respect to Canadian content requirements. An apparent failure to comply with Section 4(6) was also noted during the 1999 to 2000 broadcast year. Please go ahead.
5014 MR. DEWERT: Good morning, Madam Chair, Members of the Commission and staff. My name is Dick Dewart. I am the president and founder of CJIL-TV, the Miracle Channel. Before starting our presentation, I would like to introduce our team to you. To my immediate left is Brad Lockhart, our general manager and agent, who has been with CJIL since 1999. To Brad's left is Gordon Klassen, our director of broadcasting, and to his left is Kent Prestage, our business manager. I'd also like to acknowledge all the friends and faithful partners of the Miracle Channel for their tremendous support. They are truly the wind behind our sails and the reason we're here today. We're now ready to start our presentation.
5015 Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, this is my first opportunity to appear before you since presenting our application at the public hearing held in Saskatoon in June of 1994. We are approaching this renewal with a new sense of purpose because CJIL remains committed to its mandate of locally reflecting the spiritual values of our community, and in the manner we fulfil that mandate.
5016 CJIL was licensed in 1995 to provide a non-commercial over-the-air television station devoted to religious programming in Southern Alberta. Our area can be considered among the most marginal television markets in Canada, made up of three over-the-air local stations and two additional over-the-air regional stations from Calgary, Alberta.
5017 Located in the community of Lethbridge, with a population of 70,000, CJIL is known to our viewers as the Miracle Channel, and truly is a unique, one of a kind television station. It's Canada's first and only licensed over-the-air, non-commercial, not-for-profit broadcaster, and a registered charitable organization. We have faced our challenges over the first license term. However, we have seen the Miracle Channel move from its small and humble beginnings to a position of significance within the Canadian broadcasting system. We believe that CJIL's quality religious programming continues to bring added value and choice to our television viewers.
5018 CJIL is proud to have, in just a few short years, grown to be a leader in the local program production, providing more in-house and community production than any other commercial station in our area. These productions have sought to inform, educate and entertain our local audience on a wide variety of topics, with a religious emphasis.
5019 In addition, CJIL has worked hard to improve our programming schedule to reflect the unique needs and demands of our local audience, including more aboriginal programming, community interest programming, and programming originating from many regions across Canada to allow for a diverse and unique perspective on religious views and matters of public concern.
5020 CJIL has found that by allowing smaller regional producers from across Canada an opportunity to produce and regularly air programs on CJIL, it has given them a voice and many times, has allowed them an opportunity to stimulate video production within their communities. Such is the case with an independent producer from Campbell River, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. CJIL truly endeavours to work with and see additional new Canadian independent producers accept the challenge and succeed in this tremendous opportunity.
5021 In early September of 2000, CJIL took on a new challenge, that being the launch of our service on a national satellite and distributed to cable operators through Cancom and to DTH subscribers across Canada on StarChoice and Bell ExpressVu Satellite Systems. This launch saw our potential number of households exponentially increase from approximately 50,000 to in excess of 1 million. However, as with any business, as it grows and the operational costs increase, there is a need for greater cash flow to remain viable and meet the additional operational demands.
5022 It was in the fall of 2000 when we became aware of the errors in our broadcast content. Our management came to the recognition that we had failed to devote proper resources for personnel and systems, necessary to ensure compliance with the Canadian content and regulatory requirements of our license. Upon our discovery of the seriousness of the situation, we immediately focussed on identifying solutions to ensure compliance for the future, while learning from our past mistakes. We would ask that the Commission please accept our acknowledgement of these errors and our sincere assurance that our actions of non-compliance were not of a deliberate attempt to avoid meeting our commitments.
5023 We found that through the years of building and developing a local station and bringing it to a position of viability, we had simply lost focus on developing the necessary infrastructure which would have ensured our compliance with the primary objectives relating to our license terms.
5024 Regarding our Canadian content levels, our management immediately began the process of reviewing our programming and scheduling in order to identify and understand the causes of our deficiencies and how to correct them. At this time, we appointed Gordon Klassen as our director of broadcast and additionally, hired a permanent full-time in-house data entry person to submit our log reports, where previously, there had been none.
5025 Our director of broadcast is responsible to develop, implement and monitor systems and personnel to ensure Cancom compliance, reporting to our executive management team.
5026 Since this implementation, we have been able to increase our Cancom to more than 60 percent overall in primetime during the current broadcast year. We have been exploring software solutions that could monitor Canadian content and scheduling, however, initial inquiries price the software at $50,000 annually, and on an ongoing basis. This cost is prohibitive to us at this time.
5027 Presently, our in-house data entry person has taken the responsibilities of traffic coordinator. He is directly responsible for following, calculating, and monitoring Canadian content levels, reviewing errors and omissions, reports, resubmitting reports, maintaining a regular contact with the CRTC staff, and making corrections and adjustments. We are confident that with the changes that we have implemented, will ensure compliance in the future. We also believe that once fully implemented, our present staffing will be able to monitor Cancom compliance.
5028 Additionally, we are re-evaluating staffing needs in the programming department to help us manage scheduling on an ongoing basis. We acknowledge that we have not complied with Sections 4(6) and 4(7) of the Television Broadcasting Regulations 1997 with respect to Canadian content requirements. We would accept a short-term renewal for non-compliance with these regulatory requirements.
5029 Further we give an assurance that we will meet the required Canadian content requirements in the future. Therefore, we would accept a condition of licence that would require a six months' reporting period to ensure a better job of tracking and recording our Cancom.
5030 We also acknowledge that we have not met our intention to provide closed captioning of locally-produced programs during the license term, nor the closed captioning levels pursuant to Public Notice 1995-48. In short, our non-compliance in providing closed captioning is a resource issue which we hope will be resolved during our next license term. Upon exploring the option of outsourcing our tapes, we have found the cost to be upwards of $500 per half hour. At present, this cost represents more than 3 times our present air time rate.
5031 We are continuing to explore other solutions that could be implemented in-house. Costs associated with the price of equipment and software are at about $60,000, which also remains prohibitive at this time.
5032 In addition to the costs of closed captioning equipment, there is an extra expense of experienced operators, a cost of 50 to 75,000 per annum per operator.
5033 It is our sincere desire of the Miracle Channel to be in full compliance in this area, however, the requirements pursuant to Public Notice 1995-48 to achieve closed captioning of 95 percent of all programming during the broadcast day by the end of our license term, at this time, appears unattainable. We do believe we could commit to a program of implementing closed captioning on a graduated scale over our next license term and subsequent license terms, beginning first with our non-live local programs during the broadcast day, and then secondly, our local priority programming between 7:00 and 11:00 p.m.
5034 Further, we acknowledge that we have not followed through on the commitment to establish and maintain a regulatory review committee to monitor our station's performance with regard to balance and adherence to the guidelines on ethics. We assure the Commission that although the committee has not been formally implemented, we have not been ignoring the regulatory review requirements. We have addressed such issues as ethics, program review, complaint resolution and balance requirements at an executive management level and have assured that program producers understand and adhere to the guidelines on ethics. On matters that required outside resolution, we relied on the executive of our local ministerial for guidance, a circumstance that occurred only once during our license period.
5035 Additionally, since early April of this year, our general manager and director of broadcast have met on a biweekly basis to review and evaluate the station's compliance on Cancom levels estimated by our traffic coordinator. We are continuing our efforts to recruit members for the nomination to the Regulatory Review Committee.
5036 We do commit that within the first six months of our new license term, to establish and maintain a Regulatory Review Committee to monitor the station's performance with regard to balance and adherence to the guidelines on ethics. We accept responsibility for our non-compliance and the consequences thereof. Our comments today are intended to explain, not excuse, our actions.
5037 CJIL recognizes that as the first broadcasting license of its kind, the eyes of the Commission and other broadcasters have been upon us. As with all pioneers blazing a new trail, it's a challenge filled with numerous obstacles, but it is a trail which marks the ways for others to follow.
5038 We sincerely trust the challenges and the obstacles we have met will be overcome. Despite past and present issues of non-compliance, we have made progress in understanding the rules and requirements of the broadcast regulations and have implemented the appropriate measures.
5039 As the only viewer-supported television broadcaster in Canada, we believe it to be significant that we have garnered the support necessary to remain a viable enterprise, and we know that as we expand our donor base, revenue-centred compliance issues will be quickly resolved.
5040 Madam Chair, these are our opening comments, and thank you for the opportunity to present them today. I, or one of my staff, are prepared to answer any of your questions.
5041 THE CHAIRPERSON: As indicated, we will take our lunch break before getting into the questioning. I would like to confirm or have an explanation from you, however, as to what the difference is between the description of programs which have been filed, which is Schedule 5, and those that were in your renewal, if there is a difference? There seems to be, and what is it, and why is it different?
5042 MR. DEWERT: I should defer that question to our director of broadcast, who compiled that for us.
5043 THE CHAIRPERSON: Because otherwise, I will be -- I want to know just how much work I have to do over lunch.
5044 MR. LOCKHART: Right. No, I'm sorry, what those --
5045 THE CHAIRPERSON: For example, are the description of programs the same as what I would find in what you filed before?
5046 MR. LOCKHART: That's correct.
5047 THE CHAIRPERSON: And there are additional programs, I gather?
5048 MR. LOCKHART: There are additional programs. What those represent are filings that were to have been filed by August 15th, to give an indication as far as our fall programming schedule, with the key figures and the actual number of original and repeats. We're filing those now with the Commission. We will be filing original copies of that with the logging department, as well.
5049 THE CHAIRPERSON: So for the purpose of questioning, it's best to rely on those, rather than what is in the application?
5050 MR. LOCKHART: Probably --
5051 THE CHAIRPERSON: There are additional programs here that are reflective of what you're doing now, which were not in the schedule --
5052 MR. LOCKHART: That's correct.
5053 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- in the description of programs before. But for example, if I take a program like "Lifeline," the description you have in the application, which I've read, is the same as in here?
5054 MR. LOCKHART? That's correct.
5055 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So I can have my lunch?
5056 MR. LOCKHART: Yes.
5057 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5058 MR. LOCKHART: Thank you.
5059 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will, then, adjourn for an hour. So we'll be back at 1:00. This is almost by the clock.
5060 MR. LOCKHART: Thank you, Madam Chair.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1155 / Suspension à 1155
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1300 / Reprise à 1300
5061 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary.
5062 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair. We are ready to proceed with questions.
5063 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I guess this is not going to be the happiest exercise. I will have some questions with these areas that the Commission pointed out to you and that you acknowledged this morning in your presentation, where you fall short, and in some cases, quite short of the proposals that were made when you were first licensed.
5064 The first one I'll deal with is the Canadian content. The second one is how you have met your commitments, and the requirements of the religious policy in providing balanced programming. The third one will be the formation of a regulatory committee, which was a commitment you had made. The fourth one, I'll want to speak to you about closed captioning, and the last one, I have a few questions about your plans for meeting the needs of cultural communities and aboriginals, which is not so much a question of non-compliance as the other issues.
5065 So the first one we'll look at is Canadian content. You had proposed to the Commission in 1994 something which is way higher than what is required by regulation, that is 70 all day, and 80 in the evening period. By the way, if I make an error in numbers, or chronology, please correct me immediately so that we don't -- whether it's to your advantage, or disadvantage. So my understanding was that you had proposed 70 percent all day, instead of 60, and 80 percent in the 6:00 to midnight period, instead of 50, but the Commission, in its wisdom, bound you in the decision to the regulations 60/50.
5066 Nevertheless, the calculations we have made for the 1998/99, and '99/2000 year are way below that. For '98/99, it shows 34.6 percent the whole day, which is as opposed to 60 in '98/99, and 40.7 percent in '99/2000. And for the 6:00 to midnight, where you were supposed to reach 50, 49.2 percent in '98/99, and '99/2000 is 55.3, which is above the regulated requirement.
5067 This was pointed out to you in a 29 March 2001 letter and you responded on the 8th of April, 2001. My understanding is that you are not questioning the accuracy of these findings; is that correct?
5068 MR. DEWERT: That is correct.
5069 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that means we can move on right away to the reasons for the shortfall. Now, you have made some statements this morning in your presentation about what you're doing to correct this, et cetera, and your hope that you will resolve these problems in the coming license term. And I think I recall you saying that these failings were not deliberate and that you have not been ignoring your regulatory requirements, et cetera.
5070 Before we get any further, I remind you that the regulation is very deliberate. You just don't happen to meet requirements accidentally. That's the industry you're in. That's the industry you applied for a license in, and deliberation is, indeed, required to ensure that you meet the requirements. So yes, I'm reading that from the second page of your -- where you say that your, ". actions of non-compliance were not a deliberate attempt to avoid meeting our commitments." I agree that it may not have been, but it's not terribly relevant. Deliberation is what's required.
5071 Now, what is it that happened, then, if it wasn't deliberate? Was it just neglect, not taking into account the fact that it was regulated and that requirements were made of you that were made by law, by regulation, and you chose to get a license to operate in this industry? What is it that you feel was the cause of the results of your Cancom calculations that you agree we correctly made for those two years?
5072 MR. DEWERT: Madam Chair, Commissioners, in our hearing of June, 1994, I was the person who appeared at that hearing for application of our license. We went into that hearing with some previous expectations of affiliation with a other applicant, which happened to be Crossroads Television System, presently. At that hearing, we were informed by the representatives of Crossroads that they had withdrawn their application and that we were now standing alone. The parties that we were depending upon for a significant amount of Canadian programming was suddenly not available to us. And the second matter that changed in our application at the hearing was the condition of non-commercial content, which closed a revenue stream to us.
5073 Both of those situations placed other difficulties, challenges for us to overcome in establishing a stand-alone station. We had very few sources to rely on in terms of Canadian programming.
5074 Then in addition, the revenue stream that we really, really needed since donor income was something that started small, needed to grow and develop over a period of time, was the air-time sales to broadcast ministries. In 1995, I distinctly remember that very few Canadian ministries were paying rate cards, particularly in a marginal market like Lethbridge, and so we relied very heavily upon American ministries who did have the money and were willing to buy the air time. That began the process of the shortfall in the Canadian content.
5075 Now, we could have made Canadian content had we given away our air time to many Canadian ministries and repeated their programs, but viewers began to complain about that and we had to start making adjustments in our program schedule. That's how -- if you're asking how that started, that's what took place.
5076 THE CHAIRPERSON: You mentioned having hired Mr. Klassen and looking into the possibility of software, et cetera. When did you start setting your mind to this, before March, 2001 and the Commission's letter, or after?
5077 MR. DEWERT: We not only hired Mr. Klassen, but prior to that, Brad Lockhart, our general manager, and it was at that time that we began to --
5078 THE CHAIRPERSON: What is at that time?
5079 MR. DEWERT: When we hired him, which is 1999.
5080 MR. LOCKHART: That's correct. It was at that time that we actually brought the decision out and started looking at where are we on meeting our conditions of license. It was in the fall of 2000, actually, that we started that preparation in preparation for our renewal.
5081 THE CHAIRPERSON: Did you know at that time how short you were?
5082 MR. LOCKHART: No.
5083 THE CHAIRPERSON: Or did you only find out in March, when the Commission wrote?
5084 MR. LOCKHART: We, actually, in the fall of 2000, is when we became aware, at that time, that our Canadian Cancom was significantly lower than our expectations so we immediately started readjusting our program schedule at that time to ensure that starting in 2001 of January, we were going to be meeting our Canadian content requirements.
5085 THE CHAIRPERSON: You're asking us today to put some trust in you that you now have systems and the intent and you'll do it, but isn't it a bit bizarre that you had a license in 1995, April? When did you go on air?
5086 MR. DEWERT: We went on air in January 14th, 1996.
5087 THE CHAIRPERSON: And it was only in 2000 that you realized that not only were you not doing 70/80, but you were doing far less than 60/50? Wouldn't that be the very first thing one would look at throughout, despite the fact that there may have been conditions, such as not getting Canadian programming from the source you thought you would, surely one would then say, "Well, what is that doing, and do I have to get an amendment, do I have to do something? What should I be doing?" That didn't occur until 2000?
5088 MR. DEWERT: Madam Chair, in the beginnings of the station, in a very marginal market, I again state, we, literally, were surviving day to day, just financially, and it was -- it did preoccupy our attention. And as you've noted, that the regulations are deliberate and so we acknowledge that. It did complicate our situation, where I didn't feel we had the finances for a competent staff. I, myself, am not a -- at that time, I should say, I was not an experienced broadcaster.
5089 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, let's get into that. In your deficiency letter, and again, in your first response to my question, I read now from your deficiency letter, question 1, the answer about why is your Canadian content so low. At the bottom of that page, which is page 1 of your deficiency letter, you say:
At the time of our application, we were not expecting to be non-commercial, but as a condition of license, we were required to achieve all our revenue from air time sales and through viewer support.
5090 I know that the decision says that you'll be non-commercial, but I went back. I wasn't there in 1994 so I went back to see what had happened then and who had imposed this on you, and there is in your original application, a letter dated 15 March 1994, where you respond to a question by the Commission, in part, with the following paragraph, at question 14, talking about the proposed undertaking when involved the solicitation of funds and is already registered with Revenue Canada in accordance with the Income Tax Act. Now, I quote from the last paragraph on that page:
With respect to questions 18 through 20, and the letter of March 10, 1994, we wish to clarify and confirm action that needs to occur. Our undertaking will not be selling any commercial advertising. Revenues will come from sale of air time to other local churches who desire to air programs and solicitation of funds.
It seems to me that was your application. This is what you put to the Commission. It's not something that was forced upon you. You put it before the Commission at the same time as your proposed 80/70 Canadian content. It's not the Commission that imposed that so how can it be a reason or a response to, "We couldn't do it because we couldn't sell advertising"?
5091 MR. DEWERT: As you know, Lethbridge is not that large of a community and I happen to know the --
5092 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, neither was it large at that time, I suppose.
5093 MR. DEWERT: No, I'm referencing to the fact that I know the owners or the general managers of the local television stations, and they had approached me in the dates that you mentioned there, that they were intervening against us on this issue, on the non-commercial, or the commercial, and our evaluation at that time was it was not an issue that we could win in the application process, that we could prove that the market could bear another commercial station. Now, things may be different today, but at that time, that was our estimation.
5094 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you nevertheless accepted the license. All the requirements that come with that part of the application, which has to be non-commercial, so it hardly can be a response now to, "We couldn't do what we said we would because you didn't let us advertise," because that was part and parcel of your application, from what I read, correct? Yes?
5095 MR. LOCKHART: I can actually respond to that. I can take responsibility for that statement within that response. When I actually put that in there, I wasn't aware -- I guess, it's a problem in the way I communicated that. I realize that we were to be non-commercial, but as far as the way that sentence reads in there, I can take --
5096 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but you accepted the license --
5097 MR. LOCKHART: Right.
5098 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- where in the decision, it clearly says, ". as committed," or, ". as proposed by the applicant, there will not be advertising." You know?
5099 Now, another thing that I find puzzling is how you say you can't afford this, you can't afford that. It's not the type of revenues you were expecting. I understand and retain your comment about not getting programming from Crossroads, but with regard to your financial ability, I also pulled out your projections of 1994, and I then compared them to what the Commission has asked you to file in this case. Hopefully somebody is familiar enough with the application to know where I'm talking about, but there is a Schedule 4 where you are asked to make projections for seven years. So that's under 3.1 of the application. Is that all familiar? Yes?
5100 MR. LOCKHART: That's correct.
5101 THE CHAIRPERSON: And then there's one where you're supposed to do -- take the same type of sheet and do it for the current year. Do you have that?
5102 MR. LOCKHART: Yes.
5103 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Now, the current year, when you filed that, January, 2001, some of this would be projected and some of this would be accomplished by then? You have a broadcast year ending in August?
5104 MR. LOCKHART: That's correct.
5105 THE CHAIRPERSON: How does the reality look compared to what's on there in the revenue line, the total revenue line? I'm reluctant to give actual numbers, unless you don't mind?
5106 MR. LOCKHART: Right. No, that's fine.
5107 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you mind if I put on the record the actual numbers you filed?
5108 MR. LOCKHART: No. That will be fine.
5109 THE CHAIRPERSON: You don't? Okay. So we have there a projected total revenue of $2.3 million, correct?
5110 MR. LOCKHART: That's correct. I'm going to, actually, defer these to our comptroller, Kent Prestage.
5111 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, that's fine. Anyone can answer.
5112 MR. LOCKHART: Thank you.
5113 THE CHAIRPERSON: In accordance to what you feel is reasonable. So we've got $2.3 million in that year. I also have some figures of '96, et cetera. All of those are way beyond your projections for 1994, which year one, was $246,000, rising in year seven to $340,000. So I can understand lack of experience, that, you know, you make mistakes, but these are very, very big discrepancies.
5114 Moreover, if I look at your financial projections -- now I'm going to the other form, the 3.1 -- it's 1.9 million in year one, rising to 2.1 million in year -- excuse me, to 3.5 million in year seven, correct?
5115 MR. PRESTAGE: Yes. If I may --
5116 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't understand why you can't afford to get, for example, a $50,000 software that will assure us that we won't be back here in the next renewal completely off. You can't afford a $50,000 software that will ensure you calculate your Canadian content correctly?
5117 MR. PRESTAGE: Madam Chair, if I may address the issue of the projections for $2.3 million for our current year.
5118 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes?
5119 MR. PRESTAGE: First of all, our projections came very close, but one of the things that a non-profit charitable organization has to accept is externally-restricted donations. We received an externally-restricted donation for $1 million, and under GAP, generally-accepted accounting principles, we have to expend that money as the donation was given. It was given for satellite air time, therefore, we had to spend that money on satellite air time.
5120 THE CHAIRPERSON: Even if I take a million off --
5121 MR. PRESTAGE: Yes.
5122 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- I still have a million point three.
5123 MR. PRESTAGE: Yes, ma'am.
5124 THE CHAIRPERSON: Your projections for year seven, when you filed in '94, was $181,000, I also wonder why is that 2.3 million and the first for the current year -- now, you say you pretty well met that?
5125 MR. PRESTAGE: Yes.
5126 THE CHAIRPERSON: And yet for year one, it goes down to 1.9.
5127 MR. PRESTAGE: That would be because we --
5128 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that because you're not maybe getting those restricted funds?
5129 MR. PRESTAGE: Exactly. Yes, ma'am.
5130 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, fine. We're still dealing with something that is far beyond what was projected in revenue, far below in commitments.
5131 MR. DEWERT: Madam Chair, the other issue that changed significantly in the -- which is reflected in those financial projections was the application was initiated by myself while I pastored a large church in Southern Alberta, and we expected it to be an affiliate of a mother station, or a larger station.
5132 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you've explained that.
5133 MR. DEWERT: Yes. Well, that would have reflected in the fact that we would have needed less staff, less resources, and that was why those projections were made so low. But in the subsequent operation, especially in the first year, it became very apparent to me that I couldn't do both. The operation of the station did not fit well within the confines of a local church and we began to immediately make moves to separate completely from any local church so that we could be non-denominational and interdenominational. And that meant we no longer had a volunteer base that we thought we had, and that made a significant difference, certainly to the number of staff we needed, and that was a situation that did change in the first and second year of operation.
5134 THE CHAIRPERSON: Nevertheless, if I look at the current year, there is a net income that would include all of these expenses being taken off?
5135 MR. DEWERT: This is not the first year. Which year?
5136 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no, the current year, I'm looking at that.
5137 MR. DEWERT: The current year. We still have an accumulated loss over the five and a half years of operation. We show a net loss after those five years. We have not made profit, although we have made a small net profit this past year and the year prior to it. So this past year ending August 31st, and the August 31st prior to it, we show a net profit for the first time.
5138 THE CHAIRPERSON: And in your projections, year one, you show a loss, but then in year two, you start accumulating a profit, after taxes. I guess taxes is not relevant for you, is it?
5139 MR. DEWERT: No, after depreciation.
5140 THE CHAIRPERSON: So it's still a healthy -- well, we can talk about the past and find all kinds of reasons, but you're going to have to explain why you can't be more generous about how you're going to find your way to meeting requirements with a healthy net income in your projection. Am I not right? There's loss for the first year, but not for other years?
5141 MR. DEWERT: We are in a position for the very first time, having now expanded significantly in the last year, for the first time to be able to say we could possibly achieve those kinds of capital expenditures, but I know for a fact that during those initial years particularly, it was extremely difficult even to pay the staff, and there have been many days when we borrowed the money to pay our staff. Capital acquisitions, under that condition, is very difficult.
5142 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, it's interesting that you refer to since you were licensed, the Commission allowed you a retransmitter in Bow Island, allowed you a retransmitter in Burmis, just shortly, and then added you to the Part 3 list, and you, yourself, say that -- on the second page of your presentation this morning that:
This launches saw our potential number of households, exponentially increased from 50,000 to in excess of 1,000,000.
5143 Well, you will appreciate that the Commission's not interested in adding transmitters, putting you on the Part III list if you're not going to be able to perform as you're supposed to. So we're going to have to discuss more clearly what it is you're going to do with more generosity in the next year to ensure that you're in compliance, because you've had a good deal, you know?
5144 MR. DEWERT: Yes. And we're very happy, Madam Chair, because --
5145 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, you have to make us happy too.
5146 MR. DEWERT: Well, this is for the very first time, we've been able to say we can see ourselves out of the red. Now I'm going to speak for myself, as the president, my extreme concern through the first five years of our license period was that I did not see long-term viability, and in fact, I saw the opposite. And to ensure success, and to ensure the fact that we could be here and fulfil our commitments, we had to seek means of expansion. And those revenue streams that you mentioned, the Bow Island transmitter, and now the Burmis -- the Burmis has just barely gone air, and we still haven't seen cable carriage, those revenues don't come back to us for at least 12 months. And so now we have just begun. In fact, it is exactly 12 months ago that we began to see increased revenues from our Bow Island transmitter, and now the satellite, as well. So this does reflect in our financial projections. There is now a way -- at least there's light at the end of the tunnel, if I may say it that way.
5147 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well -- yes?
5148 MR. LOCKHART: If I may just add to that? That is why we're at the point where we are today, where we can make the commitment as far as the expenditure to acquire the software to begin the closed captioning. Our issue that we'd like to work through with the Commission, as well, would be some form of graduated application of the closed captioning to our scheduling. That's where -- we can see now the light of day as far as the expenditure for the software, but as far as complying with the 90 percent requirement for all our programming, that's where we have some challenges at that point.
5149 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, well, we can speak about that. I'm not quite finished speaking about Canadian content.
5150 I'd like to understand better how your revenues are recorded. Now, there is a section with your financials called Schedule 3, where you, as required by the Commission, talk about assumptions. Now, I understand you're a different organization and use, nevertheless, the form that we have. So you put your revenues under "National Sales," even though there's no such thing, I guess, "Local Sales, Production," and "Fundraising," for a total in your projections.
5151 You say that national time sales in the Schedule 3 assumptions -- are you following me?
5152 MR. LOCKHART: Yes.
5153 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let me know when you have it, it's the assumptions for your financials. Okay? Yes?
5154 MR. LOCKHART: Yes.
5155 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes? You say at two, that, "National sales are all sales from our agent for Canadian, as well as U.S. programs aired on our station, and local sales are for programs not through our agent and are only from Alberta." Explain to me how that works and how that ends up as revenue.
5156 MR. PRESTAGE: We have an agent, actually, that works out of Toronto, and he makes air-time sales for us. Ministries in the United States, and in Canada, he goes after them and gets them. We decided early on, or at least it was decided early on in the station that anything -- and it was in the contract with our agent that anything that was from Alberta itself would not go through the agent and that that would be considered local sales. For example, if we produce and then air a show for someone out of Edmonton or Calgary, then that goes in as -- not as our national sales, but as our local sales.
5157 THE CHAIRPERSON: And under number five, you explained that production is production for shows that really are on CJIL television, for in-house production of shows for third parties.
5158 MR. PRESTAGE: Right.
5159 THE CHAIRPERSON: And then, I guess, solicitation, or fundraising, rather, is -- is all fundraising on air?
5160 MR. PRESTAGE: No, we occasionally have a banquet or something like that, but some of our fundraising is --
5161 THE CHAIRPERSON: On air, as well.
5162 MR. PRESTAGE: -- on air, as well.
5163 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, are you familiar with the term, "brokerage"? Do you ever sell half an hour to someone for a price and they do what they want with it?
5164 MR. DEWERT: I believe there's some restrictions to that, as well. We committed to selling airtime to other charitable --
5165 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that's all?
5166 MR. DEWERT: -- religious charitable organizations. So if we sell air time to someone, they are donor-based, they're religious in nature and comply with the charitable tax laws of Canada.
5167 THE CHAIRPERSON: Have you sold air time in that fashion and does it show up on your revenues?
5168 MR. DEWERT: That's the national time sales that he's referring to.
5169 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's the way it would work?
5170 MR. DEWERT: These are all broadcast ministries. For example, 100 Huntley Street is one of our better clients that pay for air time, one hour daily.
5171 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, in the application at Section 3, at the very beginning of the application, you signed there that you have examined the provisions of the Broadcasting Act and the Broadcasting Regulations relevant to the application.
5172 So I take it from there that you have signed here that you will abide by the regulations for the following term.
5173 MR. KLASSEN: That is correct.
5174 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that will be 60/50 Canadian content.
5175 MR. KLASSEN: That's correct,
5176 THE CHAIRPERSON: I haven't looked at your entire application in '94, but I would be prepared to bet that there was a declaration of that sort in that application as well.
5177 What is your intention in taking the steps necessary to make sure that you will meet a 60/50 Canadian content? You know, I read, "We'll make our best effort." In your deficiency letter at the very end of question 1, you say that in time, "we would likely be able to meet the higher levels without any of the above outlined consequences."
5178 Do you mean 60/50 or above that? What do you mean, "in time"?
5179 MR. KLASSEN: If I might, Madam Chair, in regards to the 60/50, we are more than willing, and we should be required to maintain the minimum requirements, and I can tell you today that as of even right now we are doing that, as was mentioned in the first submission of Dr. Dewart, we are already over 60 percent overall, and in prime time. I believe it's 61/64 presently this week.
5180 So we can definitely give you assurances that as of today we are meeting those minimum requirements. Now, as you can tell, by being over 60 percent, we are obviously making steps not to just be just a little bit above the minimum requirements but to exceed those, and whether we can meet 70 or 80 percent, I don't know. I wasn't there at the time. It seems like those initial statements were ambitious, to say the least.
5181 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. And I see that at 4.3 of your application, you're requiring to be bound to 60/50, and the Commission in its wisdom, despite the 70/80, that's what they bound you to.
5182 Now, you say you know now that if we checked -- if we checked for the year 2000/2001 what would we find?
5183 MR. KLASSEN: You would find that we are meeting your minimum requirements of 60/50.
5184 THE CHAIRPERSON: For the entire broadcast year?
5185 MR. KLASSEN: That's right. You would find that. Now, of course that's based on our calculations, not based on having some software tell us that. I'm sure getting the software might adjust it, maybe up or down. I don't know how the software works essentially, but I do know this, is that whether or not we have the software, we are able to meet Canadian requirements. I don't think you need software to be able to --
5186 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Well ‑‑
5187 MR. KLASSEN: -- add up the numbers and seek out the percentages.
5188 THE CHAIRPERSON: But Mr. Klassen, you're telling me maybe with the software, we'd find ourselves down or up, or maybe you should have the software.
5189 Why can't you spend the software of $50,000 with the results you now have in the expanded ‑‑ if that's what's required to give us a level of comfort that you will meet your requirements, this year, next year, not just because you're coming to Vancouver, and I have the unpleasant task of taking you on on this.
5190 MR. KLASSEN: And again, I can't speak for my predecessor as to how they handled that. All I know is that since I came in that the first steps that I made was to ensure that we would be meeting those minimum requirements, in fact exceeding them, and so right away we put into place measures in order to drum up business, if you will, with Canadian producers to be able to bend over backwards to help subsidize ‑‑ to get those numbers where they needed to be.
5191 That is why I can tell you that today we are exceeding those minimum requirements and if it's software that we need to be able to prove it even more so, I'm sure that that's something that we are willing to do, and in the next short while as our capital situation has improved.
5192 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Now, you also talk in your presentation of this morning about maintaining regular contacts with the CRTC staff and making corrections and adjustments.
5193 We have very devoted staff who work very hard, but they can't be calculating and making sure people ‑‑ what we need to do is to help you understand what your requirements are, and then somehow or other, you have to get the tools with whatever cost to ensure that this will happen, and we don't find out later on that its not happening.
5194 And you know, it's not very comforting. Then you talk about, we also believe that once fully implemented, present staffing will be able to ‑‑ well, is that in the future or is that done already? Did you just make your commitments for this year so that you could come to Vancouver and not be in as difficult a situation as ‑‑ what does that mean, when staff is fully implemented and whether then we'll be able to comply?
5195 MR. KLASSEN: Well, we're ‑‑
5196 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is it not fully implemented now to ensure compliance?
5197 MR. LOCKHART: What we're referencing there actually is we found that the Commission staff has been very, very helpful with us through this whole process where we are trying to identify where are our shortcomings with regards to the ‑‑ how we're reporting our logs, our key figure codes. So they've helped us through that process.
5198 As far as taking on the responsibility of calculating the Canadian content, that is something we're fully taking responsibility for, and we can commit to you that we will ensure we'll be meeting those ‑‑
5199 THE CHAIRPERSON: And if the Commission felt that after this discussion about your own doubts about your ability without the software, you'd be prepared to make that expenditure to ensure that it's happening?
5200 MR. LOCKHART: We can commit at this point today that we will be looking at the expenditure to get all the tools that we need in place ‑‑
5201 THE CHAIRPERSON: That are necessary.
5202 MR. LOCKHART: -- necessary to ensure compliance.
5203 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, you say that you have, Mr. Klassen, and you've put your mind to it, et cetera. When you made up your fall 2001 schedule, and posted it on the web, what importance did you give then to whether that schedule showed that your Canadian content would be met? Was that part of the preparation of the schedule?
5204 MR. LOCKHART: The schedule that we had ‑‑ actually this was just part of the filings that we have to do, I believe, every August with the Commission, showing that this is our fall programming schedule, giving a description of the programs and the key figure codes.
5205 Actually our schedules that we post on the web, quite often we find the information we have on the web is actually post-dated ‑‑ or outdated.
5206 So as far as referencing what we have posted on the website, I'm not familiar at this point what particular fall program schedule is up. All I know is that the fall program schedule for 2001 that we submitted with our opening, that is where our commitment, that is what we are moving forward with at this point.
5207 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that would be a schedule that would make it possible to meet your Canadian content commitment?
5208 MR. LOCKHART: That's correct. It actually reflects our present where we are in fact exceeding our broadcast day and our prime time requirements.
5209 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, in your April 8th letter, if I recall, you indicate that you are quite ready to accept a short-term renewal, I gather, so that you can use that time to show the Commission that you are abiding by it, and if I recall, you even offer to ‑‑ or if you didn't, you should ‑‑ to report to the Commission on a shorter-term basis than ‑‑
5210 MR. LOCKHART: That's correct. We ‑‑
5211 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- than yearly.
5212 MR. LOCKHART: We are committed, and we want to communicate to the Commission the best and clearest way that we can our commitment to compliance. We've been very thankful for the opportunity that we've had throughout our broadcast term to establish ourselves as a broadcaster with the quality programming that we present, but we realize that we need as far as the foundation, and that's what we're ‑‑
5213 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
5214 MR. LOCKHART: ‑‑ being offered through this property, an opportunity --
5215 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
5216 MR. LOCKHART: ‑‑ to rebuild based on compliance.
5217 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. You know, that's all fine and good, but when we give licenses the first term is not a trial, or what is it you call it when you employ people, you know, you give them a probation. There are not that many regulations, and they have to be abided by right away. How many years of this so-called renewal term would you give yourselves if you were us?
5218 MR. LOCKHART: That's a difficult question. Based on our commitments and what I feel confident that we can bring before the Commission as far as our tools, the people, the personnel and our commitments in compliance, I would feel very privileged and thankful if the Commission would consider a three-year renewal.
5219 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, and then with reports. So that we keep you on your toes, during that time you may find a way to get the software if that's what's required, which is what you propose is the best way to do it.
5220 So your request is 60/50. You have, Mr. Klassen, you may well buy the software. You'll report to the Commission and we'll keep you on a short ‑‑ you know, we're very busy. We're not anxious to give short terms, but we have responsibilities under the Act, and if it appears to be required, sometimes we have this type of unpleasant experience for 2 percent below Canadian content.
5221 Here we're dealing with a real lack of compliance of serious ‑‑ let's move on to the balance in programming.
5222 Whether you agree with this or not, the religious policy and the way we're licensed requires that you provide balance because the Commission in its policy says that it expects to satisfy this requirement because it feels that religion itself is a matter of public concern that requires meeting balance.
5223 At the 1994 hearing, followed by a further process you would remember, because you were there, you ended up with a commitment ‑‑ and I'm reading now from the decision. Unfortunately, I have something taken off of the computer, but in any event you'll probably find it easily ‑‑ the paragraph just before the section called "The Ethics." If you have the usual decision format, we won't be on the same page.
5224 But you will remember that you promised to do 14 hours weekly of programming that presents different views on religion and matters of general concern including four hours weekly of such programming between 6:00 and midnight. And earlier in the decision this was going to be broken down, I believe, by seven hours of religious affairs programming, of which three and a half hours would be interviews and invited guests, and three and a half hours would be phone in. Okay?
5225 And the other seven hours a week would be from a variety of faith groups in the one, two, three, four, the fifth paragraph of the decision.
5226 MR. KLASSEN: That's correct.
5227 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I'd like to look with you at the extent to which this has been abided for.
5228 Now, when you filed the deficiency letter which is April 8th, you attached to it ‑‑ the first April 8th letter, a number of appendices from A to G ‑‑ no, to F which show the programming you feel is programming that satisfied these hours, and we'll talk about the phone in more after.
5229 I'd like to look at this programming, some of these programs with you, and see in what way it fulfils this requirement of balance. Now, you have put in different sheets, but if I'm going to use what you filed with your application, because you told me that it was the same now, but if there is a change let me know.
5230 So let's look ‑‑ I want to understand to what extent it meets the requirement of offering differing views on religion so that balance is in it. So let's look at Lifeline. You describe that in those sheets as: "Lifeline with Dick and Joan, the anchor program of the Miracle Channel. Lifeline features a variety of guests, music, and powerful ministry, our number 1 rated program."
5231 And in those appendices, I think Lifeline is identified as a program that, you feel: "An interview format featuring guests of various denominations, faith groups, and nationalities, therefore would be a program that would go towards meeting balance."
5232 Explain to us in what way it does, considering the description.
5233 MR. KLASSEN: Lifeline is indeed our anchor program. It's a program in which we are able to, for the most part, have interviews. We also run documentary features in it as well, featuring a variety of denominational groups, specifically those that are indigenous to the Lethbridge and area, including aboriginal.
5234 We've had Manford Northpegan (phonetic) on numerous times talking about First Nations issues because we have one of the largest First Nations reserves just a few miles from Lethbridge. He's been able to come down and talk to us about some of the spiritual mapping things that they have done in that area, and how that relates to his nation of the Blackfoot.
5235 We've been able to do documentaries, show documentaries on what's happening in the North among the Inuits. We've had various groups as far as Jewish groups. We've had in fact the consul general of Israel on the program in the past ‑‑ many denominations that have a wide variety of different views on certain topics that we're able to discuss and through interview, and just through dialogue.
5236 Other than that, that's basically what it is, interviews, a few documentaries thrown in, as well as of course the music programming that we have including some ethnic music from time to time.
5237 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, MC Magazine, in that program description it's described as magazine show very popular with many viewers, features community interviews, crafts, cooking, fashion, home decorating and much more. How does crafts, recipes, cooking, home decorating provide various views on religion?
5238 MR. KLASSEN: What we found in Lethbridge as in all over Canada is that ethnicity and religion tend to go hand in hand. This is one of those programs in which we're able to bring out the ethnicity of our area in terms of things like cooking and crafts and culture.
5239 It's not only a good community resource in allowing the community to be able to see how different functions and varieties of people in our region work and respond to each other, but it also allows us to be able to see beyond maybe just what the religious views are and go into some of the cultural views of these organizations.
5240 For instance, we had programs on there in which we went out to the Chinese New Year to see their various traditions. And of course, again, as I say, the cultural and religious traditions all tie in together.
5241 We've had Japanese people on, of course, because Lethbridge is known with its rich Japanese tradition with the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens and their traditions of food and culture and wardrobe and that sort of thing, and it gives them an opportunity to be able to talk about their traditions, be they religious and/or cultural.
5242 THE CHAIRPERSON: Of this type of programming of which there was to be three and a half hours, besides the ones I've just raised, what others do you see in your current schedule and for the next ‑‑ not necessarily license term, because of course it's some time, are there other programs you'd want to show us, new ones that fulfil that requirement?
5243 MR. KLASSEN: Besides the ones that are listed, Madam Chair?
5244 THE CHAIRPERSON: Besides the ones that I've raised.
5245 MR. KLASSEN: Well, as you can see, on ‑‑
5246 THE CHAIRPERSON: Other than phone in.
5247 MR. KLASSEN: Okay. As you can see on Appendix F, for instance in this present ‑‑ or the past broadcast season, we've had other programs such as Day of Discovery, Zola Levitt.
5248 We also have a program in the future coming called Israel Vision which we talk about Jewish traditions and customs which we find to be very important, especially at this time in which we're trying to work together and foster understanding amongst a variety of groups, especially in light of some of the events from September 11th, to be able to foster understanding and realize that we can have common understandings.
5249 So Zola Levitt, Day of Discovery are all part of our Mid-East programming and talking in specific reference to the State of Israel. Reality Check talks about religious issues. They talk about religious issues based on what our news, current events in Canada happen to be, and so they talk about things like age of consent, abortion issues, things like that which are a little bit more current affairs, a little bit newsy, but decidedly in terms of how they view things based on their morality and their religious views.
5250 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are Insight ‑‑ no, The Chat Room ‑‑ what are your phone in programs?
5251 MR. KLASSEN: Again, on Appendix F, as you can see, the Insight and Insight Chat Room are both the phone in programs. We have live phone in and we also repeat the broadcasts as well.
5252 We have a seven-second delay system on this as well to ensure that any topics or things that are said that are not congruent with what we deem to be proper and in consideration of what our license requirements are, we're able to certainly bleep that out. Luckily we haven't had to do that too often, but we do have that technology there and we're ready to use it. Those are our phone in programs.
5253 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think in your application at 6 and 10, you talk about that you have a daily phone in program which has seen a dramatic increase ‑‑ this is paragraph 8 in section 10 of your application, and I quote:
"Our daily live phone in programs have seen a dramatic increase in local calls in the past year, based on our ability to focus in on topics that our local viewers care about."
So what you're saying is this is a very popular program?
5254 MR. KLASSEN: It is a popular program simply from the response we've gotten from this. I guess one case in point would be a number of years ago, when we had the tragic shooting of a student in Taber, Alberta, just down the road from us, what happened as soon as we heard that, we dropped the programming we had and we went straight onto air with Dr. Dewart, not so much to talk about the problem or talk about the actual news part of it, but to be able to explain and talk to people that were phoning in, asking questions, like why is this happening, and how does this relate to us based on what happened in Columbine in Colorado, and we're able to work with them, talk with them.
5255 We actually were able to be able to have a prayer for the victims and their families, and that meant so much to people, and they were phoning in after the program, thanking us profusely for being able to offer this type of service, in which we weren't just dealing with the facts of the issue, but with how it would handle their emotions and their spiritual outlook in regards to such a horrific event like this.
5256 THE CHAIRPERSON: Fortunately the Taber incident doesn't happen every month, every year. How do you choose a subject in between to fulfil your requirement for balance through the phone ins?
5257 MR. KLASSEN: There's a number of procedures we go through in choosing things. Absolutely we want to choose programs that are of interest to our local area. These can be local issues. These can be national or international issues from time to time.
5258 Certainly with the events of September 11th, although that was a world-wide issue, it was of great interest to our local audience and that's a no-brainer. You have to go with something like that, drop your programming and talk about it, because that's what's on people's hearts and minds.
5259 Locally, we talk about things that affect our local area, and it's interesting because even though you can talk about an issue such as, let's say in the Lethbridge area, agriculture is very important. You can talk about an issue like that, and it's a general public concern, but at the same time, our viewers, who are of course realizing that they're watching a religious station, they phone in talking about agriculture in light of their own religious views, which makes it very interesting and wonderful topics of lively debate.
5260 THE CHAIRPERSON: And does this phone in line generate other than Christian evangelical phoners and points of view?
5261 MR. KLASSEN: Yes, Madam Chair, it certainly does. I remember it was probably about a year ago, we had a particular program which was dealing with the whole abortion issue, and we had various people phone in with their ideas.
5262 And it's not always black and white. Some people say for. Some people say against. Some people have a grey area in the middle. But what it does is it generates understanding for what the other side is thinking.
5263 And we had a wonderful gentleman phone in, and he said, "I'm a Hindu gentleman." He says, "And I don't agree with everything that I see on your station". He says, "But in this one aspect," he says, "I can agree with you in regards to my beliefs," and it was really good because we had other callers being able to phone us after the program to say they were very interested to hear what this Hindu gentleman had to say because they never realized that that was something that they shared in common.
5264 THE CHAIRPERSON: I gather that you have a 24-hour feedback line?
5265 MR. KLASSEN: Yes, we do.
5266 THE CHAIRPERSON: And is that used extensively?
5267 MR. KLASSEN: Yes, it is. As a matter of fact, Madam Chair, we take these comments and they of course are recorded when no one is there. We have this feedback line, and what we do is we take these comments, good, bad or indifferent, and we put them into our behind-the-scenes program.
5268 We air them for our viewing audience, and have Dr. Dewart on the behind-the-scenes program actually answer those. So people get to hear the comment, good, bad or indifferent, and he's able to respond to them, because we feel that for every comment that comes in, there's probably ten, 20, maybe 100 other people, that perhaps have the same comment or question.
5269 THE CHAIRPERSON: (Inaudible -- off microphone) do if you found out that it's been three or four days since you've had no comment on anything, that is other than from Christian evangelical callers?
5270 MR. KLASSEN: Well, first of all, Madam Chair, let me say that we do air on a regular basis appeals for people to respond to the Miracle Channel, either by email, fax, phone, any way that they can, and if we don't have comments on the comment line as such, we get hundreds of letters every week, good, bad or indifferent, and that gives us more than enough ammunition, if you will, for our behind-the-scenes program.
5271 THE CHAIRPERSON: If there is no comment on issues, either because the issues were chosen that don't make it possible or because there is no interest in the community, would you take positive steps to try to get these comments?
5272 I'm referring to that because in its policy, the Commission, and in the decisions and that public notice, the Commission has said, "Well, if it doesn't come naturally, you've got to instigate it yourself." So what would you do if you weren't getting something that was sufficient to satisfy the balance requirement?
5273 MR. KLASSEN: Well, I'm happy to say at this point that's a hypothetical question because we have never had that problem. We've always had people who are very eager, eager to respond. The appeals that we have put on the air, and also when we are face to face with people to let them know that we're eager to hear and respond live on air, or taped on air, these comments we've never had the problem of running out of things to say.
5274 I guess hypothetically, should that dry up and we have nobody issuing comments, we would do what was necessary to get their comments. From time to time, I might add, we do send cameras out on the street, just to ask them ‑‑ we do streeters and ask them questions of things that are of general public concern or of religious concern. And if we had to, we'd go out with the cameras and ask them about concerns they'd have exactly with our station.
5275 If I could just quickly add to that, in our Insight program, which is a phone in program, either once or twice a month we actually have Dr. Dewart appear on that program where they can ask the president whatever they want, live on air, and that always generates and garners a great amount of interest and questions, and we're able to respond to those.
5276 Some of the questions are quite interesting, because some of the questions are not just dealing with our programming or views or thoughts, but they're actually quite pointed questions, such as well, why do you have Catholic programming on your station, or other such similar comments, and Dr. Dewart in those instances is able to explain to them the need for cooperation and working together, and we find it to be a very valuable exercise.
5277 THE CHAIRPERSON: The 14 hours commitment had this seven hours, half of which would be interview programming, half which would be phone in, and then the other commitment made to satisfy the 14 hours, of which four hours were in the evening, was ‑‑ and I'm looking at part of the decision under balance, one, two, three, the fourth paragraph, and I quote: "To provide balance and meet the needs of the community, Victory," which was Miracle Channel now, "also made a commitment to broadcast the minimum of seven hours each week of programming from a variety of faith groups and denominations in the local area."
5278 How has that been fulfilled?
5279 MR. KLASSEN: Is that in reference to, again, the Lifeline Program in which ‑‑ the interview program?
5280 THE CHAIRPERSON: No. I gather the Lifeline program would be ‑‑ you had a commitment of three hours and thirty minutes ‑‑
5281 MR. KLASSEN: Yes, okay.
5282 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- of locally produced programming, correct?
5283 MR. KLASSEN: Yes. I understand what the question is now.
5284 THE CHAIRPERSON: And three hours and a half of phone in ‑‑
5285 MR. KLASSEN: Mm-hmm.
5286 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- which makes seven, and the rest of the 14 was a minimum of seven hours that you will make available to other than Christian evangelical faith groups, and that was the second leg of how you would meet your balance requirements. Has that been done?
5287 MR. KLASSEN: Certainly what we've done is we've made it our effort and our mission in complying with the regulations to attract as many denominations as we could from our local area, and we do so by ‑‑ well, first of all soliciting anyone that wants to be on the air, either as a guest on a program or to have their own programs.
5288 We do work with a number of groups locally that do give us weekly programming, local church groups that give us different types of programming from differences of denominations, and that's how we fulfil that, by making that available to them, and usually at a lower than rate-card cost, or we help them with free air time or reduce costs for production.
5289 THE CHAIRPERSON: If I had continued reading from that paragraph under balance and a decision, which is the fourth paragraph, it says: "In the event that these groups," that is other groups, "do not submit a sufficient amount of programming to adequately reflect other views, Victory will find" ‑‑ I read Miracle -- "Channel will find alternative means to ensure that balance is provided on its service."
5290 Are you saying that you have been providing seven hours of airtime to other religious groups throughout the first term?
5291 MR. KLASSEN: Madam Chair, the programs Lifeline, MC Magazine, and including Insight when they do ‑‑ or behind the scenes do solicit groups from the broadcast area to come on the programs regularly to highlight whatever it is that they do.
5292 THE CHAIRPERSON: But has it happened? I don't want to confuse anything, but there's 14 hours in all that has to be --
5293 MR. KLASSEN: Mm-hmm.
5294 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- broadcast to meet the balance requirement. We've talked about the three and half hours of phone in and the three and half hours of interview programming, and then another seven hours, but in all you have to meet 14.
5295 MR. KLASSEN: It says, programming outside of Victory. At the time it was ‑‑ the Miracle Channel was actually a division of this local church.
5296 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but the important words in that paragraph is, "Victory also made a commitment to broadcast a minimum of seven hours each week of programming from a variety of faith groups and denominations." That's the other seven hours.
5297 MR. KLASSEN: There's more than seven hours of that type of programming.
5298 THE CHAIRPERSON: So what you're saying is, would the Lifeline and so on, and the phone in --
5299 MR. KLASSEN: There's a variety ‑‑
5300 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- because you explaining or soliciting other views from other faith groups is not the same as providing airtime, making sure that they put their programming on the air.
5301 MR. KLASSEN: There is a provision for a number of programs from a variety of denominations on the station. One of them is Catholic, for example.
5302 THE CHAIRPERSON: They bring themselves --
5303 MR. KLASSEN: Yes. Yes.
5304 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- to you, that you don't produce yourself the way you do with Lifeline.
5305 MR. KLASSEN: That's correct.
5306 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think those are two different legs of the requirement.
5307 MR. KLASSEN: That's correct.
5308 THE CHAIRPERSON: One is you ensure that --
5309 MR. KLASSEN: And that would be --
5310 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- you have a balanced program that you produce. The other is to say, okay, you bring us your different view and put it on the air.
5311 MR. KLASSEN: And that would be far in excess of seven hours.
5312 MR. DEWERT: If I might, Madam --
5313 THE CHAIRPERSON: And this would be like the Israel program, I gather.
5314 MR. KLASSEN: Right.
5315 THE CHAIRPERSON: Which they would bring all prepared and produced by themselves?
5316 MR. DEWERT: And if I might just add to that, we have found that some of the religious groups in our area do not have the numbers or the commitment to do a weekly program, so what we've done is we've made programs available to them that they can come on once in a while to talk about certain issues.
5317 Insight is one of those programs. It's not just a host taking calls from viewers. That program also has guests on it that foster debate and discussion about certain types of issues. That's one of those programs where we can have some of these other groups on.
5318 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that will fit under if you can't get these groups to ‑‑ I guess they buy. You make the time available, but it doesn't mean they don't pay you for it.
5319 MR. KLASSEN: And some of those we do subsidize our self or give free air time.
5320 THE CHAIRPERSON: But when you talk about Lifeline that you've just talked about, this would be your alternative means to ensure balance ‑‑
5321 MR. KLASSEN: Yes.
5322 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- if they're either unprepared or unable to buy time to bring you a program or produce one?
5323 MR. KLASSEN: Yes, and certainly in our area a lot of those other groups and denominations don't have the resources or the commitment because they have very few people or maybe just not the desire to have a weekly program, but we do give them that outlet.
5324 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, for the coming term, what are your commitments in this regard?
5325 MR. KLASSEN: seq level0 \h \r0 seq level1 \h \r0 seq level2 \h \r0 seq level3 \h \r0 seq level4 \h \r0 seq level5 \h \r0 seq level6 \h \r0 seq level7 \h \r0 While we certainly plan to meet any of the requirements that the Commission has given us in those regards, we feel that we've been doing has been able to meet the requirements of balance in our area, and we would certainly seek to continue that as it is or increase it as the situations may warrant.
5326 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you would be comfortable with compliance as discussed and as you appear to understand what is intended by the policy, the same commitments including the four hours in the evening period would be acceptable -- and I understand there's some flexibility; the condition of license is 14 hours ‑‑ would be hours between 6:00 and midnight to reach balance. The rest is an explanation of how you can do that. And I understand that maybe the phone in will also provide for the other, et cetera, as long as there are seven hours provided to other faith groups and then the programming is balanced.
5327 MR. KLASSEN: We would certainly commit to that and we would not seek to have relief from that condition because it's worked very well for us and we're very pleased with it.
5328 THE CHAIRPERSON: You understand your responsibilities in --
5329 MR. KLASSEN: Yes.
5330 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- that case? Of course, if you increase that type of programming in many cases you'll also increase your Canadian content.
5331 MR. KLASSEN: I understand that.
5332 THE CHAIRPERSON: How are you increasing your Canadian content?
5333 MR. KLASSEN: Well, it's an interesting dilemma you brought up, because when we were first given the license, the pipeline if you will, we had a pipeline but we had very little product flowing through that pipeline because what we found is that the Miracle Channel, being the first of its kind in Canada, there wasn't a whole lot of independent producers, if you will, to be able to provide the programming that we needed.
5334 So we had to do a couple of things. First of all, we've had to, in fact, spawn almost another industry of religious broadcasters and churches and denominational groups, and we've been able to go and source them and seek them, find out their interest, help them along, teach them some of the basics of broadcasting, and so we've actually been able to facilitate our own Canadian content by helping out independent producers.
5335 As I mentioned before, we do this through subsidizing them, giving them free airtime, assisting them with production or advice, just to be able to do that. We have many requests on a weekly basis, now that we've been around for a while, people asking us, "Well, if we want to do something like this, what do we have to do? What's involved?" And we're able to work them through the process, to give them a reality check as to what's involved, and some of them back away, some of them will get interested, and then we're able to facilitate whatever they need to be able to join that part of the industry.
5336 THE CHAIRPERSON: We've been through the Canadian content, which is a regulation. We've now discussed balance, which is a condition of license. You also made some important commitments which had an impact on the Commission giving you a license, which even though not a regulation, not a condition of license, you're expected to meet, and this was to put together a regulatory review committee that would monitor your performance regarding balance.
5337 From your April letter, the answer to question 5, it's obvious you haven't done that, and instead the Lethbridge Ministerial consists of representatives from various faith groups and indicated that should a conflict arise they'd be willing to act as mediator to bring a resolution to the issue.
5338 Now, is monitoring the same to you as responding to complaints because things have made people angry enough to register a complaint? Monitoring, to me, is more a question of having a committee that looks occasionally at what's happening and saying, "Well, I think you're deviating," or maybe it's not good enough or whatever, which is a different thing from the inertia of people and waiting until somebody says, "I'm complaining to the Commission or to you because you're not doing a good job."
5339 Why do you feel that you've met that commitment by relying on the Lethbridge Ministerial and saying, well, nobody's complained so they haven't had anything to do? How does that respond to the commitment in the decision and in your application the last time? Because if I read from the application on the Regulatory Review Committee, I quote, "In accordance with Victory's commitment the Commission expects" ‑‑ in highlighted characters ‑‑ "the applicant to establish and maintain a regulatory review committee to monitor the station's performance with regard to balance and adherence to the guidelines on ethics."
5340 Now, in that response to the deficiency letter at question 5, I believe that you say you have not "diligently pursued individuals who'd be interested, but that a concentrated effort will be made" to do it.
5341 Now, I think that was in April of 2001, and today I believe you have again some relatively unfirm commitments.
5342 "We do commit that within the first six months of our new license term."
5343 Now, six months of our new license term, and it's since your April decision that you will establish and maintain a regulatory review committee. How come it's not been done since April?
5344 MR. LOCKHART: We've actually taken some initiatives between April and now to look and try to find these leaders within the community, within the Ministerial, that would stand with us on this board.
5345 I think part of the problem was there initially was a neglect on our part to understand the full issues dealing with the regulatory review committee in that the responsibilities went much beyond just monitoring, dealing with dispute issues. Like we recognize now the seriousness of it, that it's not only dispute resolution but maintaining this is a body that to ensure that we are, in fact, meeting all our conditions of license. So we recognize now what's involved with that as far as reporting with the committee.
5346 THE CHAIRPERSON: It appears from the decision that you propose at the last ‑‑ when you applied to the Commission as one item that would show to the Commission that you will be doing what you're supposed to be doing as a religious broadcaster. Do you still believe that that's a good idea, if you were in our shoes, to have such a committee and to require it?
5347 MR. LOCKHART: Yes. Yes, we ‑‑ actually going through the review process, recognizing where we were deficient in our non-compliance, we recognized that if we would have had this body in place, functioning the way in which it was envisioned and created to function, we most likely wouldn't find our self in the situation today, explaining why we've been in non-compliance.
5348 It's something that we feel very strongly about, and we're committed to ensuring that we will have a properly functioning regulatory review committee in place, so that we've made adjustments. We've made commitments on a station level, but we need this committee that will ensure not only that this is just a start, but we will on an ongoing basis heed these commitments.
5349 MR. DEWERT: Madam Chair, may I add to that, that when Victory was given that license, what we did is ‑‑ I didn't actively preside over the station at that point in time. We hired staff, a management staff that were non-Victory, and that's what specifically was stated about the regulatory review committee, and so the executive management of the station at that time did operate with outside, specifically Victory, to monitor the balance requirements of the station. That was the intent at that point, and as we say, it wasn't ‑‑ I'm just summarily stating what was the intent back then.
5350 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you see a value for this?
5351 MR. DEWERT: Yes, we do.