ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing 23 November 2012
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Volume 5, 23 November 2012
TRANSCRIPTION OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
To consider the broadcasting applications for the licence renewals for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s French- and English-language services as listed in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-379, 2011-379-1, 2011-379-2, 2011-379-3, 2011-379-4 and 2011-379-5
140 Promenade du Portage
23 November 2012
In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of Contents.
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in either of the official languages, depending on the language spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
To consider the broadcasting applications for the licence renewals for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s French- and English-language services as listed in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-379, 2011-379-1, 2011-379-2, 2011-379-3, 2011-379-4 and 2011-379-5
Véronique LehouxLegal Counsel
Aspa KotsopoulosHearing Managers
140 Promenade du Portage
23 November 2012
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
19. Public Interest Advocacy Centre & OpenMedia.ca1631 / 9417
21. Canadian Media Guild1682 / 9670
24. Friends of Canadian Broadcasting1738 /10022
23. MAC, on behalf of Access 2020 Group of Stakeholders1789 /10352
25. Cathy Hunt1838 /10641
26. Canadian Association of Film Distributors and Exporters1852 /10740
27. Brenda Baker1899 /11035
29. Hans Schuetze1915 /11146
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PAGE / PARA
--- Upon commencing on Friday, November 23, 2012 at 0900
9411 LE PRÉSIDENT : À l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.
9412 Madame la Secrétaire.
9413 LA SECRÉTAIRE : Merci. Bon matin.
9414 For the record I would like to announce the Commission has been advised that Four Square Entertainment, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Alice Harris and Rogers Communications have advised us that they will not be appearing at the hearing.
9415 We will start today with the presentation of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and OpenMedia.ca.
9416 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you have 10 minutes.
9417 MS LO: Thank you.
9418 Good morning, Mr. Chair and Commissioners of the panel. My name is Janet Lo and I am Legal Counsel for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. With me is Reilly Yeo, Managing Director at OpenMedia.ca.
9419 We come together as groups representing the public interest, informed by the public conversation of ReimagineCBC.ca, a collaboration of OpenMedia.ca, Leadnow and GenWhy Media.
9420 We are pleased to appear before you today to discuss our views on the critical role of the national public broadcaster and your role as a regulator to ensure that the CBC best serves the public interest and fulfills its mandate under the Broadcasting Act in the next licence period.
9421 Before we begin, I would like to request the panel's permission to add onto the record the ReimagineCBC.ca final report. We referred to the results of the ReimagineCBC.ca project in our intervention filed on October 5th and the results have not changed. However, the final report and recommendations were published on Tuesday, November 20th.
9422 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will take that under advisement and rule a little later. We are trying to contact CBC to see if they have any views on this, because they are the party adverse in interest on adding something. So we will keep that under advisement right now.
9423 MS LO: Okay.
9424 Canadians need a strong public broadcaster to deliver important programming such as in-depth investigative journalism and regional programming that may not be provided by private broadcasters. We are increasingly concerned by the trends of vertical integration and media consolidation in the private element of the broadcasting system and the impact of this trend on choice, flexibility and affordability for Canadians. Today, more than ever, Canadians need the CBC to serve the public by providing high-quality Canadian programming representing all Canadians.
9425 We are concerned that the CBC's current reality will force the CBC to act more like a private broadcaster and compete for commercial revenues to sustain its services. This runs the risk of weakening the distinction between private and public broadcasters in the eyes of the public.
9426 When the public broadcaster resembles a private broadcaster, the argument that it does not provide an essential service becomes stronger. The Commission's challenging task in this proceeding is to apply appropriate conditions of licence to the CBC to safeguard the critical role of the public broadcaster in serving the public during its next licence period.
9427 I will now turn it over to Reilly to discuss the key findings of the ReimagineCBC.ca conversation.
9428 MS YEO: Let me begin by taking this opportunity to applaud the CRTC for its recent initiative to take citizen voices and comments into greater consideration during regulatory proceedings. I am personally encouraged and impressed at the CRTC's bravery in taking this new direction.
9429 During the recent hearing on Bell/Astral, Chair Blais specifically said:
"...we've talked a lot about Canadian consumers, but sometimes Canadians also wear a citizenship hat [....] one underlying rationale for the diversity framework is to make sure that Canadian citizens have access to news and information that allows them to participate in local, regional, provincial, national issues, for instance political events and so forth."
9430 This citizenship lens is the one that we are asking the Commission to view the CBC through today. As part of our ReimagineCBC.ca process, we engaged over 10,000 citizens in a public conversation on the CBC. These citizens who are passionate about public media asked CBC to prioritize access to the news and information that allows them to participate actively in a democracy.
9431 As such, the top recommendations of our process are:
9432 - focus on more courageous reporting with in-depth, uniquely Canadian content that holds powerful interests accountable;
9433 - prioritize radio;
9434 - enrich the digital ecosystem with the best content from CBC's past and present, freeing the CBC archives;
9435 - collaborate with partners who have deep roots in communities and can help the CBC tell authentic local stories; and
9436 - use open and participatory processes to help shape a vision for the future of the CBC and to create an active community who supports that vision.
9437 MS LO: We jointly developed five public interest principles that the CBC should prioritize and focus on during the next licence period.
9438 The CBC/Radio-Canada best serves the public by:
9439 (1) being uniquely Canadian, representing Canadian life, identities and values in its programming;
9440 (2) meeting needs of the public that would not be served in a free market;
9441 (3) providing universal access to its programming;
9442 (4) being innovative and taking risks; and
9443 (5) being fully transparent in its governance and reporting.
9444 We are concerned in reviewing the CBC's Strategy 2015 and licence renewal application that the CBC appears to be moving away from serving the public interest given the cuts.
9445 We will turn now to specific proposals made by CBC in its application.
9446 With respect to cuts to original and diverse programming, we are concerned with the CBC's proposed condition of licence to broadcast an average of 7 hours per week in prime time of "programs of national interest." PNI are defined much more broadly.
9447 Allowing the CBC to replace the condition of licence requiring 5.5 hours of Canadian drama programming with a commitment to 7 hours of PNI may result in a decrease in high-quality programming that Canadians value.
9448 The danger in moving to 7 hours of PNI is that each subcategory of PNI might not be represented on CBC in sufficient quantity to meet the expectations of the Canadian public.
9449 As a ReimagineCBC.ca participant from Mississauga commented:
"CBC TV really excels in one field: non-fictional programming, meaning documentaries, & news. Not only is the CBC already great at producing high caliber, non-fictional programming, but these are also the types of programs that can truly contribute to forging and maintaining the Canadian identity in a meaningful way."
9450 A re-focus on strengthening the CBC's coverage of regional issues in both news and public affairs was a key outcome from the last CBC licence renewal 12 years ago. This remains a priority, as many other interveners to this proceeding and the ReimagineCBC.ca process have made clear.
9451 The CBC's application states that the cost of news and current affairs programming will be reduced through integration and workflow efficiencies. We fear that these efficiencies would mean repeats of the same reporters and stories, rather than a broader and diverse experience with distinct personalities and content from across the country.
9452 We are concerned that reducing the cost of news and current affairs programming will impair the ability of the CBC to provide high-quality, informative and in-depth reporting on issues of interest to all Canadians.
9453 MS YEO: The public and the ReimagineCBC.ca project also believe that the CBC has an important role to play in delivering programs that reflect Canada's regions and cultural and linguistic special needs.
9454 One ReimagineCBC.ca participant from Oshawa spoke to the need for:
"a show of regional and local content that showcases the best of our courage and conscience in action. The CBC is about connecting Canadians and if it does not begin to connect us to courageous committed souls who are [solving problems in their communities], it will fail Canadians."
9455 Canadians who believe in public media want to see the CBC play a pivotal role in regional community media, both by showcasing local initiatives by individuals and groups, and collaborating with smaller media and cultural organizations in communities to create and promote the best local content.
9456 The CBC has proposed to eliminate the condition of licence that CBC television broadcast a minimum of 6 hours per week of regionally produced programming during the peak viewing period. We suggest that the Commission ensure that Canadians' expectations of regional and cultural reflection in programming are captured in the next licence.
9457 MS LO: CBC proposes to allow national advertising on Radio 2 and Espace musique. We are concerned that the introduction of commercial advertisements to these services will conflict with the CBC's role as a public broadcaster distinct from the private element of the broadcasting system.
9458 Furthermore, we are concerned that the introduction of ads will irreparably harm the CBC's relationship with its loyal Radio 2 listeners. We hope that the Commission will ensure that programming choices offer diversity and distinctiveness to Canadian listeners and strong representation of Canadian artists if Radio 2 is permitted to take on commercial advertising.
9459 With respect to transparency and openness, we encourage the Commission to continue to require consistent reporting by the CBC so that the CBC is transparent not only with the Commission but also with the public, allowing the public and stakeholders to compare data over time and evaluate the CBC's performance as our national broadcaster.
9460 To conclude, PIAC and OpenMedia.ca strongly support a renewed licence for the CBC that ensures it serves the public interest by meeting needs of the public that would not otherwise be served. By focusing on the needs of regional, cultural, and minority-language communities in a way that reflects the diversity of the Canadian social fabric, the CBC can contribute to an empowered citizenry that is well-equipped to participate in our democracy and fulfill its objectives under the Broadcasting Act.
9461 We would be pleased to answer any questions.
9462 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation. I will have a few questions and I propose to use the structure of your document to ask those.
9463 The first point, it's clear you see that the CBC has a unique role to play in the broadcasting system. There is, however, a risk. I think some people might see that if we ask the CBC to deal with all the perhaps less popular genres of programming and the programming that is perhaps more esoteric, that is otherwise not available, it may actually lead to more negative consequences in that we know that a substantial part of CBC television, both the main network and the specialties, is driven by advertising revenue and if we ask the CBC to bear the burden of everything that is perhaps less popular, less engaging, doesn't reach as large of an audience, not that it is not valuable but there is an economic reality there, aren't you concerned that we marginalize rather than mainstream the CBC?
9464 MS LO: It's a very interesting question.
9465 I think part of what we think is of real value behind the ReimagineCBC.ca process is it allowed us to have a conversation with a number of Canadians who are very passionate about public media to tell us what types of things they really value and so the types of programming that they in particular would be concerned could be eroded if there was too much of a commercial interest in CBC or if CBC was too concerned about preserving those ad revenues to sustain its services.
9466 So we recognize that a balance needs to be struck and I suppose that is the challenge of the Commission, but we want to ensure that in striking that balance the programming that is highly valued such as that in-depth journalism, the in-depth reporting that wouldn't necessarily be done if it was always about the bottom line and always about sustaining sufficient ad revenues, somehow those elements that are very valued to Canadians would be preserved and that CBC would be able to sustain its focus there.
9467 I don't know, Reilly, if you have anything to say about the balance.
9468 MS YEO: I will just echo what Janet said in the sense that the ReimagineCBC.ca project was really about trying to understand that the CBC can't really be all things to all people all the time and in doing so it does risk exactly the scenario you have just referred to.
9469 So that is why we have tried to say these are some of the things that Canadians really want to see. So courageous reporting, CBC presence in communities and radio are some of the things that we are talking about in specific.
9470 THE CHAIRPERSON: Certainly at the beginning of the hearing someone on the CBC panel talked about this balancing act and talked about, you know, it's like playing with a Rubik's cube while surfing, and so the complexity of it along with, you know, you are always in danger of taking a dunk while you are trying to do it as well and losing the right balance. So it's a tough thing for them to do.
9471 I take it, though, based on some of your further comments that you are a bit concerned -- some people would find comfort that this is the public broadcaster, that the people that are drawn to work there are people that are passionate about public service, that they realize that they have a unique role.
9472 And if you look at their 2015 strategic plan it's there, and at the beginning of the week the senior executives were saying that that is the lens through which they make oftentimes difficult budgetary decisions and choices on programming.
9473 You don't think in a sense that DNA should be your comfort level, that this is a Corporation that at the same time has to balance the need for flexibility because of financial reality -- this is the case they have put to us -- and that we have to in a certain way trust that the DNA of the Corporation will deliver on the rest?
9474 MS LO: I do recognize that there is an element of trust in a public broadcaster. However, I do think the Commission has a very important role to play in setting high expectations that can be met realistically for the public broadcaster to ensure that they don't lose their way.
9475 A licence can be long. If it's five years -- in this case it was 12 -- and we have heard from other groups where CBC has fallen short. We haven't gone into the compliance issues, but we do think that it is the role of the Commission to ensure that the conditions of licence also serve to guide the CBC and to ensure that the trust to the public is met throughout the next licence period.
9476 So yes, it's great that they have a strategic plan, the strategy 2015 will help them make decisions internally, but we don't know how parliamentary appropriations will play out over the next licence period and so I do think it's important for the Commission to show the public as well as the public broadcaster that it has very high expectations for the national public broadcaster in the next licence period.
9477 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
9478 In a sense there's at least three broad categories or baskets that one can use to, dare I say, frame the trust relationship with the CBC. There's the term of licence, there are conditions of licence and there's the reporting, and you have invoked all of those possibilities.
9479 Do you have a view on the term of licence?
9480 MS LO: On the conditions of licence?
9481 THE CHAIRPERSON: The term?
9482 MS LO: The terms?
9483 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. The duration of the licence?
9484 MS LO: I think we --
9485 THE CHAIRPERSON: The Act provides that we can go up to seven years. CBC has proposed five, others have suggested that we should even be thinking of a three-year period, and there are pros and cons to each one of those.
9486 MS LO: I think we are comfortable with five. Of course, that depends on timely review within the five years. We certainly wouldn't want to see the licence period get extended, understanding there are constraints, but I think three could be a little challenging for the CBC and we would certainly want to be sensitive to that. So we do think five is reasonable.
9487 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, paragraph 10 -- I will turn now to conditions of licence. You started talking about in your oral presentation this morning -- which echoes your written brief, which I have also read -- you started talking about some of the conditions of licence that shape the distinctiveness of the public broadcaster.
9488 I will get to PNI in a moment, but one of the other things that they are proposing is that -- their Schedule B 80 percent Cancon. In a sense we almost -- everybody almost dismisses that, but isn't that, in your view, quite significant because it does shape in fact what you can do? It would -- a public broadcaster would inevitably have to do public interest broadcasting by the very nature of having to be 80 percent Canadian.
9489 MS LO: We agree. I think the proposal to make 80 percent Canadian is one that we definitely support and I believe that the participants of ReimagineCBC.ca would fully support as well, given that one of the outcomes was for the Canadian broadcasting -- sorry, for CBC to be a Canadian -- to provide Canadian content.
9490 So yes, I think our concern here was more focusing on the diversity within the PNI and ensuring that all types of programming are provided given that the 7 PNI hours is a remarkable shift from 5 1/2 drama hours.
9491 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you have any particular suggestions on how we can improve the proposed conditions of licence to ensure that balanced programming schedule? Is it a question of creating subcategories of the PNI to say, well, so much of this, so much of that or any other proposal?
9492 MS LO: We haven't gotten to that level of detail in our discussions. We are always struggling with understanding the way the Commission's thinking has evolved into the subcategories to broadening it up to PNI. We understand that that was sort of a decision that was made for the private sector.
9493 We are concerned -- and I know that CBC has come back with a proposal to ensure that there is a minimum of an hour for example of dramatic programming and an hour of long-form documentary within that seven hours. I'm not sure if they could potentially go higher or if you would be looking at a higher expectation or more hours of PNI overall for the public broadcaster.
9494 We haven't discussed it to that level simply because I'm not sure that we are able to with the level of participation we had within ReimagineCBC.ca. We are trying to sort of present to you the broader expectations that we have heard from the public.
9495 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, which is very much appreciated.
9496 One of the challenges we have, we have people that are involved in documentary programming that come to the table and say, oh, we have to do more documentary programming, and other people who are involved in drama programming, oh, we have to do more drama programming, and others kids programming and variety.
9497 Anyways there's a whole list of people that all come to the table and pull the blanket to their end and the challenge is, and the risk I guess for us as custodians of the Canadian broadcasting system which the CBC forms part of that, is that instead of being a regulator we become a programmer and aren't you concerned that that may come down to that?
9498 MS LO: I would certainly hope it doesn't come down to that. However, we would want to make sure that there is some way to reflect what we heard through our consultation, which is the priority of key programming, informational programming.
9499 One thing that we also struggled with in trying to translate the product over the ReimagineCBC.ca process to a licence hearing is a lot of people talk about enjoying documentaries or enjoying non-fictional programming. Now, non-fictional programming could in theory fit under dramatic programming if it's a miniseries for example.
9500 So people don't talk in terms of the subcategories that the Commission has set out, which is also one of the challenges that we work with in trying to translate that back into a licensing hearing such as this.
9501 But if there is a way I suppose for us to convey to you and for the Commission to flexibly or somehow come up with an expectation for CBC to meet the high standards that Canadians have set for non-fictional programming. Whether it's a mix of documentary, a mix of drama, that would be, I think in our view, excellent.
9502 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is indeed refreshing to know that Canadians don't talk in regulatory speak, which I think would be a very sad day if they started talking and having conversations around our subcategories, but could you imagine that we would nevertheless, above and beyond the PNI obligation, perhaps have an overriding condition of licence that requires a balance in the CBC's programming schedule?
9503 I realize it's at a bit higher level, it's not as detailed as one hour of this, 30 seconds of that, but it at least sends a directional message in terms that we would see the public broadcaster overall.
9504 I asked the question of the CBC on the first day. Oddly enough, they came back with a very detailed, well, more of this, more of that, whereas I was actually thinking could we not fashion a condition of licence that's more higher level, that it is the role of the national public broadcaster to have a balanced schedule?
9505 MS LO: I would absolutely agree and the balance in the schedule is one of the key things we have heard. So if there is a way to fashion some sort of condition to capture that we would fully support that.
9506 I think the challenge that would also have to be met would be ensuring that it is measurable and that there is some sort of data that whenever the licence period is over we can come back and actually do the analysis as to whether those expectations and that balance has been achieved. So I'm not sure if that is a reporting element, but we would want to make sure that that data is available for analysis.
9507 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. I take it -- and I don't want to put words in your mouth -- that the reporting could be on issues that go well beyond things that have been imposed as a condition of licence?
9508 In other words, I see your position as advocating that we find out, and CBC talks of its report card and of course this concern that there are report cards being sent to the Department of Canadian Heritage, to Treasury Board Secretariat, to Parliament, to us, and maybe there is a way of doing a single large report card that deals with everyone.
9509 But I take it your position -- well, first of all, are you comfortable with that way of approaching things, that we do a single report card as opposed to all these multiplicity of report cards?
9510 MS LO: We would be supportive of that so long as there is sufficient information to the public so that we can actually do that analysis. At the end of the day that's our interest, is to ensure that that information is available.
9511 THE CHAIRPERSON: And then therefore the second issue when we get into the content of that report card is can you -- I just want to confirm that your perspective is that there could be reporting obligations that go beyond just what is required by the condition of licence, so precisely you can track --
9512 MS LO: Absolutely.
9513 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- a bit in an open data sort of a philosophy.
9514 MS LO: Yes.
9515 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see in your presentation you are very concerned as well about repetition. I have been asking parties about this throughout, is that yes, certainly conditions of licence, our regulatory role is there may be some ways of avoiding repetition or repeats of programming because obviously that is a concern that people, you know, if you have an obligation for drama, if you keep putting the same drama on.
9516 Two things have come out from that conversation so far and I was wondering if you had a perspective on that.
9517 The first one is that repetition sometimes finds new audiences, that people in their busy lives and notwithstanding the possibility of doing podcasts and all that, people discover content that may have been broadcast earlier that they didn't have a chance to see because it's such a competitive media environment right now and that people can, notwithstanding a repetition, actually find new fresh audiences. So that's the first question. Do you have views on that?
9518 MS LO: I don't know that we have explored this in great detail. I would say I can understand that there is an element of finding fresh audiences. I suppose it depends on where it is placed in a timeslot. If the intention of putting a repeat is truly to reach a new audience, then how are they scheduling that?
9519 And I realize, again without -- I'm not trying to ask the Commission to put in place some scheduling impositions, but we would want to ensure that that is why they are scheduling the repeats as opposed to we didn't have the money, couldn't fund the new content or we just are cutting by putting repeats on.
9520 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
9521 MS LO: So we do recognize the value of reaching new audiences and that is certainly something we support, but we don't -- we are concerned that repetitions might be used if they are struggling to meet their bottom line.
9522 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. The irony is that when they are particularly successful and their colleagues from the French market were saying, you know, they get large, over 1 million audiences, it's pretty difficult to find people who haven't seen it the first time.
9523 There is of course some programming that is not particularly interesting a second time around, but there are others that's more evergreen. Oftentimes children's programming or long-form documentaries can find new audiences a little later on.
9524 MS LO: I think you are correct in that it also depends on the content.
9525 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
9526 MS LO: The one thing we heard from ReimagineCBC.ca very consistently and very overwhelmingly was that there is a desire for original programming and that comes back to a lot of the non-fictional programming in particular. So I think there they are looking for really new fresh programming as opposed to repetition of the same types of things.
9527 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
9528 One of the other themes on the repeat issues that had come up in the repetition of programming is a conversation we have had with others that there are other regulatory forces other than the regulator at play. At one point a broadcaster can't repeat to the point where it affects their audience, especially a broadcaster like the CBC on the television network at least that is required to sell advertising as part of its business model and as well the Canada Media Fund which skews in favour of original programming to decide the envelopes for future years. In other words, it is a more complex regulatory system than just that or not. Do you have views on that?
9529 MS LO: I'm afraid that might be coming a little bit outside of our wheelhouse.
9530 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, that's fine.
9531 MS LO: We are still understanding these things. It is good to know that there are other forces that may ensure that there isn't just fresh new programming. I'm not sure if we have anything to say on that.
9532 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Well, that's okay. I realize that it gets really much inside baseball at one point that is very technical.
9533 On regional programming, you of course make the point that regional reflection is pivotal in your view for the CBC. In their Strategy Plan 2015 the CBC puts a lot of emphasis on regional and even with the phase-out of the LPIF, they, notwithstanding that, have maintained commitments with respect to regional programming. Again, it gets back to the question of trust.
9534 When you see that it's at the heart of their 2015 strategy, which apparently is not just 2015, it has a life beyond 2015, and in light of recent decisions, are you not comforted that in fact it is the CBC's intention to be firmly rooted in the regions?
9535 MS LO: I'm going to pass it over to Reilly in a little bit, but just to open up.
9536 Again, we are very heartened to see that the CBC takes regional programming and said that several times in this hearing, that it is a priority for them.
9537 ReimagineCBC.ca has some really neat ideas on how they could take it to another level and I will leave that for Reilly, but we also think that the Commission needs to find some way to ensure that that expectation is reflected in conditions of licence and we noted in the last licence hearing that that was what was done.
9538 CBC has proposed to eliminate some of those conditions of licence, so that gives us a little bit of pause.
9539 So I will pass it over to Reilly now.
9540 MS YEO: I think we are encouraged to see the emphasis on regional reflection in everyone, every way. At the same time I think there are also reasons for some concern about the way that CBC has been approaching working in the regions.
9541 So you heard from Cathy Edwards of CACTUS about the dismantling of the analog transmitters, the fact that those transmitters did represent an opportunity for community media to have new infrastructure but that there were serious challenges in working with the CBC to provide that infrastructure to communities.
9542 So I think what we have really seen from the ReimagineCBC.ca process in terms of regional reflection is that it's not just about CBC being able to go into a region for a brief period of time and tell a story but more about how CBC becomes part of an ecosystem that strengthens media all across the country to create more diversity. That is what we see coming out of this process and what we would like to see the CBC take quite seriously.
9543 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
9544 You also talk about the need for being innovative and taking risks. Of course that depends on how much financial flexibility you might have because sometimes to be innovative and take risks you also have to wake up the next day and deal with financial reality.
9545 But CBC, we discussed with them a little earlier a project in Hamilton. It's more on the radio side where the lack of frequencies, over-the-air frequencies drove them to experiment and innovate with an online presence to reflect and connect with the community. They are doing something similar on the south shore of Montreal in Longueil to do that.
9546 And of course OpenMedia, you represent people that are extremely plugged in on the new platforms. How do you view that, those initiatives? Do you see that as positive? Do you see CBC having a particular role to play on the new platforms?
9547 MS YEO: We definitely see those kinds of experiments as positive, particularly when they involve getting into communities and working with them differently, which I think is a process that is going to require some experimentation and iteration to figure out how that works.
9548 So we are really encouraged to see also things like CBC Music where they are doing different things on different platforms. We had a lot of support for CBC Music in the process that we ran, so that is definitely something that we feel quite positively about.
9549 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you are not concerned at all that the ability to do public service through those new platforms will come at the expense of continuing to serve Canadians on the more traditional radio and television platforms?
9550 MS YEO: I don't think we see those things as competing. I think we see that the challenge is to find ways that they can be very complementary and to recognize that Canadians aren't moving away from old platforms as quickly as we may have thought they might so that it's very important that we still serve them on traditional platforms.
9551 THE CHAIRPERSON: Your paragraph 14 is very delicately phrased, which deals with advertising on Radio 2 and Espace musique.
9552 I take it the message here is you would rather not see that but there is a bit of realism, and in fact Radio-Canada/CBC have told us not only would that additional source of revenues maintain the quality on those two services but in fact it feeds into the financial structure of the entire media group here.
9553 So am I right in saying that you would grudgingly accept it but it's really a question -- notwithstanding that there may be more advertising, you want to still -- you are more concerned about maintaining the diversity of the genres of music available on those stations?
9554 MS LO: Our primary concern is retaining the diversity of Radio 2. We do not take the question of commercial advertisements on Radio 2 lightly. If we could be completely idealistic we would say no, absolutely we oppose advertisements on Radio 2 and Espace musique. We do think that is a fairly large conflict with their role as a public broadcaster.
9555 We did hear on Monday a vehement statement from the CEO that they would never consider advertising on Radio One and we kind of question that just simply because looking back at their past licensing we did see that they had asked for sponsored messages on all radio, not just simply Radio 2 but also Radio One, and of course the Commission in the past hearing had denied that. Now, they are coming back specifically with a proposal for Radio 2.
9556 When the ReimagineCBC.ca project looked at what people had to say about radio -- and I know that Reilly will speak more to this -- I think they were more concerned about preserving Radio One, but there was a very, very clear message that radio should be a priority.
9557 So, Reilly.
9558 MS YEO: That has actually been one of the more surprising findings of this consultation, is how much people love radio. It came out -- we had a section of the ideas forum where people could submit their favourite things that CBC does and almost every single submission mentioned radio. So there's a lot of love for radio that we want to be very respectful of.
9559 At the same time, this whole project we have really tried to take into consideration the constraints that CBC faces and the challenges that they face.
9560 So I guess what I am concerned about with Radio 2 -- and maybe I will tell a little story. I belong to a car sharing service in Vancouver called car2Go and there are cars everywhere, all around the city now, and when you turn on the radio in the car2Go it is by default set to CBC Radio 2 and I think part of the reason why people enjoy that so much is because it is advertising free. It makes it sound very different from anything else you turn the dial to.
9561 I guess my question is, if there is advertising on Radio 2, what will all these different car2Go users who are having this contact with Radio 2, will they want that to be the default station on their dial anymore?
9562 I think that is the big question and what I am concerned about is, yes, there may be advertising revenues to be gained even in the short term. In the longer term, what is the effect on public support for the CBC? It's a difficult question to answer, but I think that is why we were trying to be careful in our wording.
9563 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. I noted that. By the same token, I think isn't there some comfort that the CBC would be careful about the sound, because they have a brand there, they have an advantage in the marketplace in the sense that people, as you say, are drawn to that because it is different, it is distinct, it's unique.
9564 Are you not comforted by the fact that they wouldn't want to put the sort of advertising that we may find on a more commercial station precisely so that their sound is not affected?
9565 MS YEO: I would definitely hope that they would do that and I'm trying to amplify the voices of people who participated in our process, not always stick to my own personal views. Definitely in our process people had a sense that commercials on television had affected the tone of CBC television.
9566 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. It's interesting that we often equate advertising with lesser quality, but in fact with higher-quality programming you can also go and get great audiences, can you not, and therefore, it doesn't necessarily mean when you are popular that you're less of quality?
9567 MS YEO: I think it depends what kind of advertisers you are needing to cater to and there is definitely a concern that -- particularly with news reporting -- that pleasing advertisers often does affect the content of the news. So I think it's not that high-quality programming somehow turns off advertisers but it is more about the choices that you make when you are trying to court advertisers.
9568 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
9569 Maybe the last area of inquiry and if you would rather not answer these questions I will understand.
9570 I am intrigued about the process you went through to seek the views in your ReimagineCBC.ca. Why did you think that was important?
9571 It's a bit of a crowd sourcing, not quite, but a bit of a crowd sourcing view, and certainly if you look back how we get the last formal CBC renewal in the last millennium the Commission traveled around the country, had town halls and meetings, it was very in person, and here you come to the table with this Reimagine project and I'm curious why you thought that that was a good way to go and what lessons did you learn from it.
9572 MS LO: I'm very happy to answer those questions.
9573 So when we decided that we were going to do a project about the CBC we thought we could just get together as the organizations doing this work and kind of come up with a list of recommendations of our own of things that we thought were important for CBC to do.
9574 What we have learned as organizations that really focus on citizen participation is that citizen participation makes things better. It surfaces solutions that we wouldn't have thought of on our own, but it also builds a community of people who are excited and enthused about those solutions and that's really important, especially going forward, for CBC to maintain public support. So that was really our motivation for doing it.
9575 THE CHAIRPERSON: Were you surprised by anything?
9576 MS LO: I was quite surprised actually. My fear when we started this project was that we would have a lot of different ideas with kind of bits of support for each one and not really any kind of clear and cohesive overwhelming finding.
9577 As the ideas started to come into our forum, immediately you could see that courageous reporting was just coming out on top. So of the ideas that got more than 4 out of 5 stars in the forum, more than half were talking about courageous reporting, investigative journalism analysis. So I was surprised by the strength of the top-level finding and pleased because it's nice to have something to say that's relatively concise.
9578 The finding around radio, as I mentioned, also surprised me. I don't think I realized how much Canadians really love radio.
9579 And I think the other thing that was somewhat surprising was around freeing the archives. So we had someone submit an idea to make the archives much more publicly available, put more of the content online, and that got a lot of support, too, a lot of enthusiastic support.
9580 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
9581 Were you at all concerned that, and there may be other people that come to the table with that view, but the fact of going through these new digital platforms -- we know that there is to a certain degree a bit of a digital divide for all kinds of reasons, both access to broadband but also propensity for certain Canadians not to be on those platforms for whatever reason -- that your results were a bit skewed -- or not skewed, but incomplete, but we are missing out on part of the population of Canadians?
9582 MS YEO: Yes. So I will give two answers to that.
9583 One is that we understand that this isn't a representative sample, so we are not claiming that it is, but also we did do quite a bit of work and if you do consider the report you will see we discussed the various things that we did to try and reach out outside of the kind of digitally savvy people.
9584 So we did a special trip to a retirement community to speak to the seniors there and get their ideas. We did a few in person events, including one in Vancouver that had more than 1,000 people. And we did local gatherings across the country in 22 different places, where groups of people, 4 to 8 people got together in coffee shops or in their homes to discuss and add findings. So we tried to ensure that there was opportunity for in-person participation as well.
9585 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And this is my last question. It gets to news reporting because I think you have put it as news and public affairs reporting more broadly. I got the impression that that is something that in the list of priorities would be near the top, if not at the top in terms of what the CBC delivers.
9586 Yesterday in particular but throughout the hearing so far we have talked about ensuring that the CBC is that trusted source, and there's the ombudsman as part of that, there's accountability of the broadcaster, but we have seen recently with the BBC and the events that have occurred there that there can be un dérapage, a spin out of control quite quickly on certain issues.
9587 Do you have views on that, because you talk a lot about the public interest, and how you ensure that trusted news source?
9588 MS LO: We haven't gotten to that level of detail. We did read within CBC's application and we have been following quite closely some of the discussion around the role of an ombudsman, so I'm very pleased to hear that CBC is taking it seriously, but I don't think we have a position, although Reilly may be able to tell you what Reimagine.CBC had to input on that.
9589 MS YEO: I'm not sure we have many specifics to offer, but from my perspective citizen participation, wherever you can ensure it, is the way to prevent these kinds of dérapage to make sure that citizens are actually involved in what's going on and have some ability to hold public services accountable.
9590 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's very useful.
9591 The Vice Chair will have some questions for you.
9592 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes, thank you.
9593 I'm trying to find the word for dérapage in English. That's a tough one.
9594 Good morning. A couple of things. One, and it's just a little follow-up on what the Chair has already -- he was rather thorough in his questioning as he is wont to do.
9595 But are you at all concerned with given that some of the people that you speak for may have sort of lesser means than the general Canadian public? Are you concerned with any migration of financial resources from sort of the television screen to digital media and is that the best use of those funds given that if we speak in terms of regions and the cost of broadband and the availability of broadband -- and the Chair sort of touched on it -- are you concerned at all with that? Should that preoccupy Canadians?
9596 MS LO: That is a concern for us. We were very encouraged that CBC was able to emphasize that it is only spending 5 percent on digital content of its whole budget. So we do think that it is maintaining a focus on all Canadians, regardless of means or how they choose to access the CBC.
9597 Our primary focus, as you can see from the principles that we iterated, is that of universal access and we don't necessarily tie that to the conventional means of television and radio. We do think that the Internet and digital platforms could be a way that CBC could help serve the universal access going forward. It is challenging in the regulatory framework that we have, but as Reilly also said, we see them as complementary.
9598 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And a 5-percent spend would be reasonable?
9599 MS LO: We think so.
9600 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
9601 Are you also happy with the response you have gotten from -- I was going to call them the hierarchy at the CBC, but les hauts dirigeants, the -- yes, the administration of the CBC wrote a letter to Mr. Lacroix, it was responded to you by Mr. Chambers.
9602 Do you feel that they are à l'écoute, that they are listening, that they are attentive to your concerns?
9603 MS YEO: I had a lovely e-mail from Kirstine Stewart the other day saying that she appreciated the report and that was very nice, and we thought it was wonderful that Bill Chambers wrote back to us.
9604 They also -- at their annual public meeting we submitted some videos with people asking questions that were coming out of the process and they actually did choose to play and respond to two of those videos. So again, we were really happy to see them taking citizen participation seriously.
9605 If they would like to sit down and talk with me more, I would be happy to do that with them.
9606 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: An open offer. There it is, an invitation.
9607 Well, thank you very much.
9608 MS YEO: Thank you.
9609 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Mr. Chair.
9610 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Simpson.
9611 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you.
9612 Good morning. I love hearing from you guys, it's always thought-provoking.
9613 I have two lines of questioning. One is with respect to public policy and it will hopefully satisfy some of the questions I have as to where this is going in the long term.
9614 First to the question of OpenMedia. Are you an -- you obviously are, this is a rhetorical question I suppose -- but you are an advocacy group in that you -- but you seem to also be a policy study group and also a public opinion pollster all wrapped up into one, because, you know, you are bringing the metrics of -- no one can forget the UBB decision.
9615 So I guess my question is: Is your frame of reference as an organization the gamut of communications as it affects the public?
9616 MS YEO: We fight for the possibilities of the open Internet, so our interest in the CBC is in the fact that the work that we do is affected by control of media by the big telecom companies and it is important for us to have a voice, a strong voice that is independent of those companies.
9617 And also one of the possibilities of the open Internet is to bring citizens together to discuss important national issues and we think the CBC is a crucial factor in being able to do that. So that's how we define our role, is fighting for the possibilities of the open Internet.
9618 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
9619 On the broader public policy issue, I guess this question is to both of you, but usually as a public policy group or a citizenry advocacy the issue is usually trying to protect the consumer from insurmountable cost issues or in the area of withdrawal of the benefits of public institutions that are there to serve the public, usually leaving the equation of how the dollars and the services are rationalized up to the policymakers.
9620 With respect to how the two of you are coming at this, you are saying that CBC would be better serving of the public to program into the margins, if you like, more -- not be so preoccupied with mainstream, perhaps because of their continuing preoccupation with or the need to commercialize.
9621 But how do you see going into the margins to be more niche in the programming and not further exacerbate the problems they have of funding, because unless you adopt a universal healthcare strategy where the healthy pay for the sick, where does this go from a practical standpoint, your proposal?
9622 MS YEO: I guess, I think the thing that we are trying to say, especially with this project, is that more courageous reporting, in-depth content isn't content that just serves the margins, that there is a community of Canadians who want that and that part of the way that CBC can serve Canadians without only serving at the margins is to bring together people who want to see that kind of content, participate -- allow them to participate in CBC's decision-making so that people feel a connection to their public broadcaster and that more and more people see it as a very essential part of their daily lives.
9623 MS LO: I would also go a little further to say that if we are allowed to dream in that direction and if we can find a way, as Reilly said, to bring all citizens and connect them to the CBC, that will bring the support that will also perhaps engender public support which could result in increased parliamentary appropriations in a dream world, because we really value our CBC and we would expect Parliament to respect their mandate and it could be a very good feedback loop that would provide all benefits for Canadians in the long run.
9624 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Last question. It's really an essentiality question. I come from Vancouver. Ms Yeo, are you from Vancouver? Okay.
9625 Public services like transportation utilities, B.C. Ferries I'm constantly thinking about, the tendencies had to be over time because of economic demand that services like airlines and ferry services have been privatized, Crown corporations have moved into the private realm, because the twains just didn't meet between costs and service.
9626 Yet, if you ask the public, you know, should there be ferry service to Port Hardy, they would say yes, but the question is can you do it. So then the question goes further into the issue of who is willing to pay. Should the person who doesn't take the ferry pay for the person who wants one?
9627 I guess the question I'm going to leave all of us with is, in your opinion, given that what's making this job at the Commission so interesting is that communications, telecommunications, broadcasting is becoming more and more important to all communities, almost disproportionately so, is it your position that the CBC and all that comes with it is an essential service like healthcare, compared to a more practical service like ferry service or Air Canada, which had to go into more of a private realm to be able to stay alive, because it went bankrupt I think at least once?
9628 MS YEO: I think, first, it's important to consider where austerity actually is really necessary. So we are in a bit of a watershed moment right now, I would say, where people are actually more favourably disposed towards raising taxes again than they have been in decades. So we are at a moment where I think we can evaluate what government can actually do and what government can't and maybe pose some questions about where austerity is actually necessary.
9629 So I would say, first of all, that we need to really think carefully about what kinds of services we absolutely must provide for people and I think there are many of them and I think the CBC is one.
9630 MS LO: I completely agree with what you said about telecommunications and broadcasting becoming in the eyes of the public more of an essential service, certainly in terms of connection to the Internet, and one of the trends that we have sort of tried to outline in our presentation that we are very concerned about is the increasing consolidation of broadcasting in the private sector and the potential impact that has on diversity of voices.
9631 I think as that trend potentially accelerates or continues there is an even more essential role for a very strong public broadcaster to be that trusted voice that Canadians can rely on and I think that drives a lot of our view to why the CBC is in fact an essential service to Canadians.
9632 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much.
9633 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
9634 Madame Poirier.
9635 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Good morning.
9636 I am pretty amazed by the work you have done to get the Canadians' viewpoint on the CBC, but I was wondering, did you make a study also on SRC or it was only on the CBC and you have no other way to provide us with information from consumers and Canadians on the SRC?
9637 MS YEO: That's my biggest regret with this process, is that because of resource constraints we weren't able to run a parallel French process about SRC.
9638 We did do -- if you read the report you will see there was a campaign that we did specifically around the funding cuts that was also run in French, but the ideas' process and the crowd sourcing in the report, it was such a significant amount of work and resources that we just weren't able to do it about SRC, but I would love to do so in the future.
9639 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes, maybe for the next term of licence.
9640 You seem to be neither for nor against advertising for Espace musique and CBC, as you discussed with the Chair, but would you be more supportive of sponsorship on Espace musique and CBC Radio 2?
9641 MS LO: I feel like we have to sort of clarify our position. Perhaps in trying to appear more reasonable this morning we became too reasonable. We actually are opposed to advertising on Radio 2.
9642 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay.
9643 MS LO: That is our final --
9644 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay.
9645 MS LO: However, in the spirit of trying to be a little reasonable and provide the Commission with a bit of guidance, we think that if commercial advertising were to be allowed on Radio 2 there would need to be those diversity -- guidance to ensure that the content is not irreparably changed to harm or I guess to lose listeners.
9646 In terms of sponsorship, we hadn't really considered it. Of course that is what they came with at the previous licence hearing. I guess our largest concern with any kind of commercial advertising or sponsorship on Radio 2 is once you go there it is very hard to bring it back to non-commercial. So once you allow it as a Commission I don't see a scenario in which CBC goes back to being fully non-commercial. So it's a very, very -- I suppose it's a cliff that we're jumping off now.
9647 I'm not sure if that answers your question.
9648 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes. I think it's clear.
9649 And my last question: After meeting with all those Canadians and being in contact with them, do you feel there is trust in the way the CBC deals with complaints?
9650 MS YEO: We actually didn't hear very much about the complaints process specifically. I'm trying to think of when it has come up and I can't think of an example.
9651 I guess I can speak a bit to trust in CBC generally and on that we saw a bit of a range. So we saw people who really loved the CBC and who would agree with some of what Chair Blais was suggesting about trusting their DNA and their commitment to public service and we definitely saw other people who have more concerns about the direction that the CBC is taking and are more constructively critical.
9652 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes. So you heard no complaints about the ombudsman or the way they treat news and public affairs complaints?
9653 MS YEO: No, we didn't.
9654 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. I'm surprised because usually people tend to be very loud when they are against something and it seems, well, those you met were mostly for the CBC?
9655 MS YEO: We very much framed the conversation that it was for people who believe in public media.
9656 MS LO: I think as well it could speak to -- and this is pure speculation as well -- but it could also speak to a level of awareness about the ombudsman process. So it is entirely possible that those who participated in the ReimagineCBC.ca process, as passionate as they were about CBC, didn't see that as a mechanism. Either they didn't know about it or they just didn't feel and they just didn't express any views on it, so it is a little agnostic.
9657 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: So I hope next time you come you will put a little bit more energy on that because complaints are really important for consumers in general and for the general public. So I hope you will keep this in mind --
9658 MS LO: Yes.
9659 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: -- to help us do better work. Thank you very much
9660 MS YEO: Thank you.
9661 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, those are our questions.
9662 I did want to thank you for enriching our process with this initiative but also I think it will be an interesting guidepost. As we in government at all levels do public policy, it will be an interesting case study of how one does engage differently through digital media. So thank you very much.
9663 MS YEO: Thank you.
9664 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
9665 MS YEO: Thank you.
9666 LE PRÉSIDENT : Madame la Secrétaire.
9667 LA SECRÉTAIRE : Merci.
9668 We will now proceed with the presentation by the Canadian Media Guild. Please come to the presentation table.
9669 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome. Please identify yourself for the transcript and make your presentation.
9670 M. MALO : Oui, bonjour. Mon nom est Gérard Malo.
9671 M. LAURIN : Et, bonjour, Monsieur le Président et membres du Conseil.
9672 Thank you very much for taking the time to hear from us today. My name is Marc-Philippe Laurin and I am the President of the Canadian Media Guild at CBC/Radio-Canada.
9673 Today I am joined to my left here by:
9674 - Lise Lareau, our National Vice President of the Guild and TV producer at CBC News Network;
9675 - Gérard Malo, qui vient de se présenter, qui, au moment de sa retraite l'été dernier, était reporter local à Radio-Canada à Windsor et vice-président national des affaires francophones au sein de la Guilde;
9676 - and finally, to my far left, Karen Wirsig, our Guild staff representative and our regulatory whiz kid.
9677 Our members work on the front lines of CBC/Radio-Canada across Canada, outside Quebec and the City of Moncton, and are committed to serving Canadians with great public broadcasting -- good quality public broadcasting.
9678 Personnellement, j'ai commencé ma carrière il y a déjà 37 ans à la station CHFA, la nouvelle station française de radio de Radio-Canada à Edmonton, pour ensuite revenir à Ottawa.
9679 Je dois vous dire qu'en tant qu'employé, mais surtout en tant qu'élu syndical, je dois vous dire que je participe à des comités de réduction de l'effectif d'année en année, et cela depuis déjà 1985, des fois des centaines de postes à la fois, des fois des dizaines, des fois un peu moins. Cela fait donc 27 ans que je vis les compressions à la CBC/Radio-Canada.
9680 Our first chart shows the public funding to CBC in constant dollars since 1992.
9681 La réalité qui nous préoccupe est celle d'un diffuseur public qui se doit d'être à la hauteur de son mandat et qui, selon nous, en arrive au bout de sa corde dans ses efforts de maintenir une programmation égale à ce que les Canadiens et Canadiennes méritent de sa part.
9682 So what does this mean on the ground? It means program cancellations and increased repeats on radio and television. In addition, our members talk to us about seriously reduced program budgets and, in most cases, increased demands for output from our members. That often means the same number or even fewer people trying to do more. Our folks are stretched to their limits and are doing their very best to deliver quality programs to their audiences.
9683 With the elimination of LPIF, CBC is squeezing other parts of the budget to maintain its commitments to local programming.
9684 The funding gap is driving much of the discussion at this hearing. The Commission has noted in two previous proceedings that it will consider CBC's specific needs during this proceeding.
9685 It is with this in mind that we make our main recommendation, which is to establish a fund to support local programming by public and community broadcasters.
9686 The Commission has acknowledged before that the market will not ensure quality local programming, especially not in smaller communities and certainly not in official language minority communities and the North.
9687 As chart number 2 shows, together CBC and Radio-Canada serve 57 communities with daily local programming. This includes the only TV newscast north of the 60th parallel.
9688 So how to pay for such a fund? We believe it can be created using a small percentage of BDU gross revenues. Our suggestion is 0.75 percent, which would raise about $65 million a year to support a healthy local diversity of voices across the country.
9689 We believe this modest measure is practical, effective, reasonable, and balances the means with the responsibilities across the system.
9690 Je passe maintenant la parole à mon collègue Gérard Malo.
9691 M. MALO : Monsieur le Président, Messieurs et Mesdames les Conseillers, bonjour.
9692 Lorsque j'ai pris ma retraite l'été dernier, j'ai mis fin à une carrière de 37 ans comme journaliste à la radio et à la télévision, dont 33 ans à Radio-Canada. Depuis mes débuts à Radio-Canada, j'ai travaillé à Ottawa, Vancouver, Sudbury, Toronto, Moncton, et enfin, Windsor, sans compter les quelques étés passés à faire de la relève à Montréal. J'ai donc passé l'essentiel de ma carrière de journaliste à servir un auditoire francophone en milieu minoritaire à l'extérieur du Québec.
9693 Lorsque je suis arrivé à Windsor en octobre 1997, il ne restait que 18 des 32 personnes qui travaillaient encore à la station de Radio-Canada, avant les coupes draconiennes survenues cette année-là. Quand je suis parti à la retraite fin juillet dernier, il ne restait que quatre employés, en fait trois puisque mon ancien poste de reporter-radio à ce jour est encore vacant.
9694 J'ai, tout au long de ma carrière radio-canadienne, vécu l'ère des grandes crises financières qui ont bousculé le radiodiffuseur public. Et j'ai donc été forcé de constater au fil des années une érosion constante de la capacité de Radio-Canada de servir adéquatement les francophones et les francophiles en milieu minoritaire.
9695 Pourtant, les services fournis par Radio-Canada à l'extérieur du Québec et de l'Acadie sont très importants, d'autant plus qu'ils répondent parfaitement aux attentes inscrites dans la Loi sur la radiodiffusion. Dans des régions comme la mienne dans le sud-ouest de l'Ontario, c'est la survie même de l'espace francophone qui en dépend dans une très bonne mesure.
9696 Les communautés francophones de Windsor-Essex, de Chatham-Kent et de Sarnia-Lambton ont beaucoup changé depuis l'arrivée des ancêtres-pionniers il y a plus de trois siècles. La radio et la télévision publique servent à nourrir ces communautés en évolution.
9697 Radio-Canada, tout comme CBC, représente également une diversité de voix essentielle pour la région frontalière de Windsor-Detroit, vous le savez, un espace médiatique largement dominé par le marché américain.
9698 Radio-Canada est le seul réseau national de langue française à avoir des artisans qui couvrent l'actualité locale à l'extérieur du Québec. Radio-Canada est le seul réseau de langue française en mesure de refléter la grande diversité francophone à l'échelle du pays.
9699 En terminant, comme résident francophone de Windsor je tiens à souligner l'importance d'une disponibilité du RDI au service de base des câblodistributeurs, et, à ce titre, je soumets qu'il va de soi que les câblodistributeurs et les distributeurs par satellite continuent de contribuer au RDI, au nom de leurs abonnés, pour soutenir une programmation qui reflète vraiment l'ensemble du pays.
9700 J'inviterais maintenant Lise Lareau à prendre la parole.
9701 MME LAREAU : Bonjour. Merci, Gérard.
9702 I have been a journalist at the CBC -- I have been a journalist for 30 years and most of them have been at the CBC. Right now, I work as a producer at CBC News Network in Toronto, although I recently spent seven years out of the newsroom as full-time President of the Guild. Those years, between 2004 and 2011, were an interesting and, I have to say, quite scary time in the media. I spent a lot of time learning, thinking and speaking about what was going on in our industry.
9703 When I went back to the newsroom at the beginning of last year, I was able to marry the big picture of all those massive changes going on in our field over the last decade with everyday life as a media worker.
9704 The changes mean more platforms and services to feed -- you have heard lots about that this week -- but not necessarily more people to feed those services. Television alone is very different from when I left eight years ago and there are features that make it more engaging and instantaneous for viewers, all the various platforms.
9705 It's all more interactive and that's all really good, but it's also fair to say that, like in every major media organization, less time and fewer resources are devoted to the tough stuff, to gathering original news, to making phone calls, to digging up sources, to developing those difficult stories that don't come pre-packaged as major news events.
9706 That is especially true after several rounds of cuts. Yet, despite this, CBC and Radio-Canada remain absolutely essential to the Canadian media landscape.
9707 One of the reasons is that CBC has a very comprehensive set of journalistic standards and practices and our members are extremely well versed in them. There's excellent training about them, online and in person, and whether you are in news, current affairs, TV, radio or online, people are taught to take those standards very seriously. Our collective reputation relies on every one of us upholding those standards and those are standards that the CBC sets for the whole industry.
9708 What also sets CBC apart is that our members truly cover the entire country, although, as Marc-Philippe pointed out, the resources at our disposal are stretched to the breaking point every day. I use those words very carefully -- breaking point is what it is.
9709 Despite this, we manage to do our work well. We are in every major centre in the country to be sure, but we are also in many mid-size communities and rural areas where news breaks. We are in the North. We have reporters serving all platforms, live if necessary. We were in Iqaluit for example with regular updates when food protests erupted this summer.
9710 The fact that we are present in French and English across the country means we can also cover issues from a range of perspectives. This was an important factor in our coverage of the student protest in Quebec this year, where the CBC services were able to benefit from the depth of coverage from our Radio-Canada colleagues. The same is true with the ongoing Charbonneau Inquiry.
9711 That is one of the reasons CBC News Network is so important for the English community in Quebec and that it should have 9(1)(h) status there.
9712 Finally, CBC serves as an essential and unparalleled training ground for media workers across the country. If you work at the CBC, chances are good you have worked in more than one region. Our members at CBC gain broad views of Canada and a rich perspective that informs our daily work.
9713 And now, I would like to turn it over to Karen Wirsig.
9714 MS WIRSIG: Just before we take your questions, I will speak quickly to the final recommendation in our brief, that CBC be required to report publicly on efforts to improve the representation of people of colour and indigenous people, both in front of the camera and in decision-making roles behind the scenes.
9715 The Broadcasting Act directs CBC to reflect the "multicultural and multiracial nature of Canada." This priority seems to have fallen off the public agenda in the intervening decades and we urge the Commission and the CBC to put more public emphasis on it once again. It is a question of the public broadcaster's relevance, and therefore survival, to ensure its programming is made by and for the rich diversity of the people living in Canada.
9716 Right now, the CBC reports only on on-air representation and clearly falls short in representing the multiracial nature of Canada. Although there is no public data available on this, experience tells us that behind-the-scenes decision-making is even less representative. We know that the Corporation has initiatives related to diversity and inclusion. We are urging for a public reporting to open up the conversation with Canadians about how to achieve this important goal and to make sure it remains on the public agenda.
9717 We would now be happy to take your questions. Thank you.
9718 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Merci et bienvenue à la présentation, et je vous remercie notamment pour le dernier point. Si on regarde dans la pièce, on fait bien de se le rappeler nous-mêmes. And what they, what gets measured gets done, so I guess that's your message.
9719 Le vice-président aura des questions pour vous.
9720 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Merci, Monsieur le Président.
9721 Votre présentation, le moins qu'on puisse dire, est concise, est claire comme l'eau de roche, et on apprécie votre mémoire également. Il est assez intéressant aussi.
9722 Mais peut-être commencer par la fin de votre document, and I'm going to quote you:
"The priority of multiculturalism and multiracial nature of Canada seems to have fallen off the public agenda."
9723 I'm trying to recall if there was any mention of it during the presentation that CBC/Radio-Can made at the beginning of the week and nothing comes to mind.
9724 Do you want to sort of give us a little more detail? It's in your mémoire but just give us a little more detail on what kind of reporting you would like to see on these questions, why it's important, what kind of reporting, and some kind of idea as to what it would cost and why those costs are worthwhile.
9725 MS WIRSIG: Sure.
9726 The CBC already reports under the employment equity legislation to HRSDC and it reports to you. You have in the full package that the CBC reported on last year a small section on on-air representation, and what we are saying is that's not enough. We believe that CBC has more information at its disposal.
9727 So, first of all, I don't think it would cost anything, or certainly not much, to ask this reporting -- this public reporting. They may have to change a few things in the reporting they already do internally in their equity and inclusion work, but we think the data is there or close to being there.
9728 This is a discussion we would urge you to have with CBC above and beyond the employment equity and on-air representation guidelines about what it means to be a broadcaster, a public broadcaster in this case, to fully meet that expectation in the Broadcasting Act of reflecting the multiracial and multicultural nature of Canada.
9729 This is a conversation we would love to have and be part of as well. We have a group of members who are involved in this discussion with CBC on a fairly regular -- probably not regular enough -- basis. It's also questions that should be asked of other broadcasters.
9730 When we talk to researchers at Ryerson University -- and you will see the paper that we submitted in one of our appendices -- they can't find data on the CBC and what they're doing, and in particular they can't find data on behind the scenes representation.
9731 In broadcasting we know that's important. You can put all kinds of people on-air but until you have the wide range of people making decisions about programming, you won't get there. That's our sort of modest opinion.
9732 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: My next question was going to be, setting aside the reporting requirements, how are they doing, but I gather you are telling us the data isn't there that would allow you to make a knowledgeable or educated statement on that issue?
9733 MS WIRSIG: And, you know, we are probably the wrong people to even make that assessment. I mean we represent the members we have and they are fantastic and they are -- we don't want to mislead you, we are already quite representative of the country. We think there is more to be done on that score.
9734 The reason we are saying this should be opened up to the public is this should not simply be a discussion between us and the CBC, the workers and the CBC, it shouldn't simply be a discussion between the CBC and Ottawa.
9735 Really, this is part of the -- I mean to go back to the previous and very impressive presentation that we heard just before us, this is the kind of thing that really needs to be crowd-sourced to ensure the viability and relevance of CBC going forward.
9736 I think we would all be a little bit surprised or disappointed to see how, I dare say, white the participants even in Reimagine.CBC were. I don't want to miscount people, I don't want to suggest that there weren't racialized people involved in that discussion, but I think that that will be the challenge going forward, is really represent -- CBC needs to represent the full population of Canada. That is a public discussion, it doesn't rest with us, it doesn't even really rest with you, it rests with the public.
9737 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes. I haven't had a chance to look at your appendices and the Ryerson piece that you spoke of, but what came to mind and it was about a year ago we had some commissioners from the CSA, the French regulator, and I also had occasion to see them thereafter and they -- it's a model that you maybe should take a look at.
9738 The reporting requirements are quite demanding on minorities, visible minorities, behind and in front of the camera generally, so I would sort of look at that study. It is readily available. But we spent a lot of time speaking to them on that issue with my colleague Madame Poirier. But that's a model that maybe we can look at -- or you can look at and we will take it from there.
9739 MS WIRSIG: We would be happy to.
9740 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: You kind of did a redo of the LPIF debate and you threw in a .75. I gather that would be available to all and not exclusively CBC. It's -- c'est un autre fonds.
9741 MR. LAURIN: That's correct.
9742 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: It's another sort of regional fund --
9743 MR. LAURIN: That's correct.
9744 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: -- small market kind of fund; right?
9745 MR. LAURIN: When you say "to all"?
9746 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Not CBC/SRC exclusively --
9747 MR. LAURIN: Well, yes.
9748 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: -- but to others. If I read it here:
"...for incremental local regional TV programming by public, provincial and community broadcasters."
9749 MS WIRSIG: Yes.
9750 MR. LAURIN: That's right.
9751 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Ça inclut d'autres. Ce n'est pas... ça n'exclut pas d'autres.
9752 MS WIRSIG: It does exclude the private broadcasters.
9753 MR. LAURIN: It does, yes.
9754 MS WIRSIG: And I will tell you why.
9755 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Go.
9756 MS WIRSIG: If you would like, sorry.
9757 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Please.
9758 MS WIRSIG: I don't want to presume, but I could explain why.
9759 We appeared at the LPIF hearing, we fought hard to keep the LPIF. We realize that for a lot of reasons --
9760 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Let's not redo the hearing, let's go to your .75 here.
9761 MS WIRSIG: So for a lot of reasons you didn't keep the fund and we kind of agreed with some of those reasons.
9762 There was a bit of redundancy that some of the BDUs pointed out because small-market private broadcasters access a fund through satellite distributors for example for small-market programming.
9763 You know, Global and CTV and TVA and City now have -- well, certainly Global and CTV now have much deeper pockets than they did when the LPIF was brought in and we recognize that there was a little bit of pocket changing going on that maybe wasn't that useful.
9764 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: So much for not redoing the LPIF debate.
9765 MS WIRSIG: No, but this is where we came up. So we said, fine, cut it in half, .75 percent --
9766 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Right.
9767 MS WIRSIG: -- and what we have always argued, include the community broadcasters because this to us is where the real diversity of local voices will come in. If we want to rebuild local media in this country, it is not going to be done by the private sector in multiplatforms.
9768 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: What about independent broadcasters that have sort of three or four sticks in a region?
9769 MS WIRSIG: Yes. Well, like the Pattison Group for example.
9770 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I don't want to name names, but go ahead.
9771 MS WIRSIG: That's one I think of.
9772 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Right.
9773 MS WIRSIG: You know, they have B.C.
9774 The thing that people pointed out during the LPIF hearing is that they already get the small local SLMP, whatever it's called, Small Local Market Program Fund.
9775 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes. Yes.
9776 MS WIRSIG: And, you know, does it make sense for them to get -- to tap additional money for local programming. You guys be the judge. We would not jump up and down and say no to that obviously. We are trying to be generous here.
9777 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: But on your ask here, .75 CBC/SRC and community stations --
9778 MS WIRSIG: Yes.
9779 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: -- aren't they tapping into another fund as well, the community?
9780 MS WIRSIG: Oh! Well, you would have to bring Cathy Edwards from CACTUS back, but I think she would say they are not tapping into much. I mean they are not getting much compared to how much money is in the pot for --
9781 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And how much of that pot would go to the CBC and SRC?
9782 MS WIRSIG: Well, that would be up to -- I mean we are saying if you do it somewhat the way you did the LPIF funding, you know, we would say base it on incremental programming over and above the pre-LPIF days for sure and then you could figure out -- I mean what this would be really intended to do is increase the amount of quality local programming being done.
9783 So the way the fund would be broken down, to be very frank, we do see CBC getting a lion's share of it, but there would be, you know, certainly some money -- and we included the provincial broadcasters in there because our members told us -- we have members at TFO for example, at TVO, where in TVO there were cuts last week, right, in television production.
9784 Our members tell us it might be interesting -- we think the same thing is true of Télé-Québec, which is now mainly focused in Montreal -- would be interesting for those broadcasters to do partnerships with community and public broadcasters.
9785 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I would be to differ that they are not exclusively or mostly concentrated in Montreal but --
9786 MS WIRSIG: Okay, sorry. Well, I don't want to speak for them.
9787 But what we hear from members is that, you know, increasingly with cuts -- this is what happens with cuts everywhere -- increasingly with cuts, production gets centralized and so this fund would be a way of trying to encourage initiatives outside of the major centres perhaps for the provincial broadcasters.
9788 The other key difference between the LPIF and this is that we also recognized TV is not the only future, so the fund shouldn't be limited to television, it should actually have multiplatform elements.
9789 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Distinctly multiplatform elements? How would you break that down? I mean would you want things to be exclusively meant for nonlinear services? That part didn't come out in your mémoire or your presentation today.
9790 MS WIRSIG: Well, it could -- I mean I think TV is the expensive, is the big ticket item, but we know the CBC has digital services, local digital services as well.
9791 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes.
9792 MS WIRSIG: If there was an element to help support the 2015 plan in improving both local digital and local television and local radio at the same time, why not, probably in content that work together.
9793 The same with the community broadcasters. Increasingly community media organizations are online, so if there can be partnerships between, you know, various -- let's say Hamilton CBC and the local community radio station to do something together, why not? So, like, multiplatform partnerships or just multiplatform work among those broadcasters could be very interesting.
9794 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: So those monies would go wherever the recipients of those monies would like them to go, in other words?
9795 MS WIRSIG: Or wherever the rules you would establish tells them to put it. I think that we would be open to --
9796 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Would you have a thought on that, on the establishment of those rules or would you allow them maximum flexibility?
9797 MR. LAURIN: I think we would have to look at -- you know, we would have to sit down and be part of that conversation and have a chat about how they would -- we would love to be part of that conversation is what I mean to say and at which point in time we could have that discussion. I can't really -- I don't think we prepared anything in that respect today for you.
9798 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. Because what I would like to say is that this is the time to have that conversation, be part of that conversation, but if you haven't put more sort of detail into that plan, that's fine.
9799 MS WIRSIG: Can I say one thing on that?
9800 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Sure.
9801 MS WIRSIG: My assumption is you probably would not be able to establish such a fund immediately if you chose to do so given that it affects other participants in the system who haven't had the opportunity to weigh in, so the Pattison Group, Shaw. You know, our brief was out there, but I don't believe you asked that many questions of Shaw yesterday on this, not that I heard.
9802 So our assumption is if you decided to go with this idea what you might have to do is what happened with the LPIF, in which the intention to establish the fund was announced in one decision and it accompanied a Notice of Consultation in which all the parties, all the relevant parties, maybe including us, but certainly more relevant parties would come to the table with proposals about how this could work.
9803 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. But for the time being your ask is for the public broadcaster and community television, that .75; right?
9804 MS WIRSIG: Yes.
9805 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay, that's fine.
9806 And you think Canadians would accept that happily or unhappily or begrudgingly?
9807 MR. LAURIN: Well, without getting back into the LPIF debate, I think the response when you had last discussions were overwhelmingly that Canadians did not complain about the LPIF costs, from our understanding, our recollection, our read of the data.
9808 So when we look at that, we say, you know, I think Canadians are in favour of local programming and community stations, and so if you specify what the money is for, I think you would get support for that.
9809 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
9810 And on your sort of 9(1)(h) stand on News World and RDI, would you not think it more appropriate that people have the choice and if they are interested in RDI outside of Quebec they should stand up and pay for it and the same should be true of Anglophones in Quebec that are interested?
9811 MR. LAURIN: Our view is this is a public broadcaster and it has to be available to every Canadian across the country. I think RDI and News Network play a major role in disseminating information and we just -- I have to tell you, we just don't see how that would serve the Canadian interest in making -- in taking the News Network and RDI out of 9(1)(h).
9812 I think Lise may want to add something to that, too.
9813 Turn your microphone on.
9814 MS LAREAU: I haven't got anything specific to add to that, but what we are saying is why not give people the freedom of choice of language. If you are providing a service you should be providing it in the language of their choice from coast to coast to coast. It just doesn't make sense otherwise.
9815 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: But you can provide it and give them the liberty to decide to pay for it as opposed to imposing that on Canadians. It's very democratic.
9816 MS WIRSIG: Except that RDI is hard to access. If it's up in the stratosphere you have to pay a lot for it. It becomes not a real public choice, it becomes a market choice. BDUs would have -- you know, it depends, I guess there is -- I may be the regulatory whiz of the union, but even I don't know all your terminology and I know there is Category A, there is Category B, there is must carry.
9817 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Well, suppose it was available --
9818 MS WIRSIG: Making it available is --
9819 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: -- and people would have to pick it?
9820 MS WIRSIG: But people would have to pick it I think is wrong. I think it should be part of the basic package because otherwise it will be hard -- you know, it just should be available in every house.
9821 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And everybody should pay for it.
9822 MS WIRSIG: And everybody should pay something for it. And the reason everybody should pay something for it, I think -- and CBC tried to make that clear -- is that, especially in the case of RDI, there's nobody else across the country going to be gathering news.
9823 We know -- we know from the financial situation if money is lost to RDI because people -- because Canadian cable subscribers stop paying as much for it, there are going to be cuts somewhere. Where do you think those cuts will be? I don't know, but they will probably be in some of those regional bureaus that are harder to pay for out of commercial revenues, right. That's just the reality.
9824 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes. Is there an argument to be made that it should be imposed because we are a bilingual country and you should have access to French services outside of Quebec and English services within Quebec? Is that a valid argument?
9825 MS WIRSIG: Agreed.
9826 MR. LAURIN: Yes. I think we would agree with that. It is part of the role of the public broadcaster in our view and it should be available across the country, east, west, north, south, ocean to ocean to every Canadian.
9827 It allows me as a bilingual Canadian to get different perspectives. Wherever I am in the country I can watch CBC News Network, I can watch RDI, I can watch LCN if I'm in Quebec. I get different perspectives from different news broadcasters. Diversity of voices is what we are all about and what we very strongly support.
9828 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Especially voices in one of the two official languages, or both.
9829 M. LAURIN : Absolument.
9830 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Monsieur Malo, vous voulez rajouter quelque chose?
9831 M. MALO : Je suis parfaitement d'accord avec ça.
9832 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Je ne veux pas mettre des paroles dans votre bouche là.
9833 M. MALO : Free choice, le libre choix.
9834 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Oui.
9835 M. MALO : Mais pour avoir un libre choix...
9836 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Oui.
9837 M. MALO : ...il faut avoir les deux options.
9838 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : O.K.
9839 M. MALO : Si une des options est sur une base volontaire, bien, dans certaines communautés, il n'y aura pas cette option-là. Alors, ça va être l'unilinguisme anglais. Alors, moi, je pense que ça...
9840 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Mais si c'est disponible puis les gens ont l'intérêt, ils vont pouvoir s'inscrire et s'abonner et payer pour le service.
9841 M. LAURIN : Bien là, je...
9842 M. MALO : Oui, vas-y.
9843 M. LAURIN : Là, je reviendrais à votre... à la discussion qu'il y a eu auparavant. Quand vous parlez des moyens des gens, il y a des gens qui n'ont pas les moyens, et s'il faut qu'ils paient pour, il y a des bonnes chances qu'ils ne paieront pas pour...
9844 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Ils ne paieront pas.
9845 M. LAURIN : ...et ils ne l'auront pas, et nous croyons que c'est un droit fondamental d'avoir accès au diffuseur public partout au pays.
9846 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Dans les deux langues...
9847 M. LAURIN : Dans les deux langues.
9848 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : ...si je comprends bien.
9849 M. MALO : Et si vous me permettez, je pourrais vous dire que dans ma communauté où j'habite, cette réalité-là... nous avons RDI chez nous. En fait, je suis là depuis '97, puis RDI est arrivé en 2002. Avant ça, on ne l'avait pas parce que le câblo là-bas ne l'offrait pas.
9850 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Ne voulait rien savoir. Oui.
9851 M. MALO : Les gens... Dans ma communauté, les gens sont très fiers...
9852 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Ce n'était même pas offert avant 2002, si j'ai bien compris?
9853 M. MALO : Non, pas à Windsor.
9854 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : O.K.
9855 M. MALO : Dans ma communauté dans la région de Windsor-Essex, les gens sont très fiers d'avoir une présence de Radio-Canada même si cette présence n'est plus ce qu'elle était avant 2009 puis dans les années passées.
9856 Pour avoir été un artisan du côté français à Radio-Canada, je suis... je ne dis pas ça pour me vanter, mais je suis presque devenu dans ma communauté une personnalité, quelqu'un qu'on reconnaît, puis même si j'étais à la radio, on ne voit pas les gens qui parlent à la radio, mais moi, on me reconnaissait.
9857 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : O.K.
9858 M. MALO : Il y a une fierté de la présence française dans le sud-ouest de l'Ontario.
9859 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Et il faut absolument permettre à une chaîne de nouvelles continues, en plus de la chaîne principale télévisuelle...
9860 M. MALO : En plus de la chaîne généraliste, oui.
9861 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : O.K. O.K.
9862 Merci beaucoup pour votre présentation et votre temps.
9863 Merci, Monsieur le Président. Ça complète, merci, pour moi.
9864 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci.
9865 Madam Duncan.
9866 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I have just a quick question with respect to your LPIF-like fund, the recommendation, and I'm just wondering about the public's reaction because the cost will obviously be passed on, the BDUs are not rate-regulated and we had that discussion before.
9867 I'm just wondering, isn't it more appropriate that the government handle the funding of this type of programming through the CBC and not in this fashion here?
9868 MR. LAURIN: Karen, did you want to take that?
9869 MS WIRSIG: It would be great if the government would fund this kind of programming adequately. We're not in a situation right now -- that's our argument, we're not in a situation where the CBC can do much more to support local programming without cutting in other areas.
9870 Cable and satellite subscribers pay the amount right now. In fact, I believe this year they are paying 1 percent.
9871 I don't know if your phones are ringing off the hook, but Madame Poirier made the point in her minority opinion on the LPIF hearing that people, consumers were not angry about paying the LPIF at the time. I think what Marc said earlier is they know what they are getting at least.
9872 CBC did excellent reporting on its use of the LPIF, we thought. They involved our members in that reporting, what are you guys doing locally? I know a lot of our members told us that they had contributed to those reports and people were very proud to do so and the public knew what it was getting.
9873 Maybe we could contrast this -- I know it's a dangerous little box for us to open up, but we could contrast this from what we're hearing from the public in the previous presentation on radio advertising. The public seems uncomfortable with the idea of introducing ads on radio for revenue.
9874 Perhaps this could be seen as an alternative to that or at least it is a different mechanism for the public to pay for programming. They are paying less in their taxes this year because of the cuts. This is a way to make up some of that difference to pay for something that the public thinks is very important.
9875 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Where there's not a solution for the government this is a way for the CRTC to fund this proposal.
9876 MS WIRSIG: And it's also a targeted way. You are not just handing over the keys and saying have fun, you're saying this is local programming, set up a mechanism, maybe work to share platforms, maybe not, if you decide that is a bad idea, we think it would be a good idea given the way the industry is moving to do multiplatform stuff, but you are not giving them a free cheque, a blank cheque, you are saying cable subscribers are paying, satellite subscribers are paying for quality local programming, make it so.
9877 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: It's interesting, we had the option to modify the LPIF fund at the time of that review and that isn't what happened but that is exactly what you are recommending.
9878 MS WIRSIG: Yes.
9879 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes. Okay.
9880 Thank you, Mr. Chairman. That's my question. Thank you.
9881 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
9882 J'ai une dernière... Oh, Madame Poirier, alors. Non, allez-y.
9883 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Vous auriez pu, Monsieur le Président.
9884 You are here to say that cuts affected you personally but mostly the Canadians because of some reduction. It impacted on programming and on staff, and so on.
9885 We get different viewpoints here and yesterday from CAB, Mr. Arnish said -- and I'm reading the verbatim:
"Don't want to tell them how to run their business, but they need to start looking more within in how can they become more efficient like us in the commercial broadcasting industry."
9886 So I would like you to react to that viewpoint. Are you really efficient and are really the cuts affecting you and affecting the Canadians outside Quebec? Because you represent journalists outside Quebec.
9887 M. LAURIN : Comme j'ai dit dans mes commentaires au début, Madame Poirier, ça fait quand même assez longtemps que je suis là. J'ai vu les belles années de Radio-Canada, où on avait les poches creuses et Radio-Canada avait accès à des budgets.
9888 Je le sais qu'il y en a qui disent que Radio-Canada se plaignent qu'ils n'ont jamais eu assez d'argent pour faire depuis ses débuts, mais je vais vous dire, Radio-Canada aujourd'hui -- I guess it would be best described as a very lean machine. There is no meat on the bones anymore. Actually you are cutting into the bones. Our folks are working really, really, really hard, long hours to put out the best programming.
9889 One thing that the CEO Hubert Lacroix said a while back is people will now begin to see changes on the CBC and hear changes on radio.
9890 Over the decades the CBC has managed to maintain and the Canadian public has not really seen a tremendous amount of change and not heard a tremendous amount of change. Some modifications, mild changes, but in the last cuts the CBC is now actually -- you know, you look at the afternoon radio schedule, repeats. I mean I have been there 37 years, I didn't see that for 34 years, right. TV is going through the same thing.
9891 I mean the CBC is as lean -- and what was beautiful about LPIF is actually we were there when CBC -- and we fought CBC pulling out of local programming way back in the late nineties.
9892 Et suite à cette bataille-là, Radio-Canada a gardé certaines stations ouvertes. Et maintenant, Radio-Canada, avec l'utilisation du Fonds d'aide à la programmation locale, peut maintenant remettre... a remis de l'investissement et a remis des émissions locales et remis des émissions d'information dans les localités à travers le pays. Avec la disparition de ça, ça nous inquiète énormément.
9893 Monsieur Lacroix l'a dit l'autre jour, "a dollar is a dollar," mais quand tu prends une piastre puis tu la mets là, il faut que tu la prennes d'ailleurs quand tu n'a pas les moyens de... quand tu as très peu de moyen à créer du financement. On vous invite à regarder la Charte numéro 1 qui parle des fonds.
9894 Je ne peux pas répondre exactement à ce que... je n'étais pas là hier pour la présentation de monsieur...
9895 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Ce n'était pas plus que ça. C'était ça.
9896 M. LAURIN : D'accord.
9897 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : C'était dans le cadre de la publicité sur Espace Musique et j'y viendrai après.
9898 Monsieur Malo, je pense que vous voulez ajouter?
9899 M. MALO : Ce que j'aurais à ajouter c'est... ça toucherait à... je ne sais pas si ça vous intéresse l'impact dans la communauté où j'habite, l'impact des compressions, des récentes compressions à Radio-Canada dans cette communauté-là.
9900 Je vous donne un exemple. Quand je suis arrivé à Windsor en 1997 et jusqu'aux compressions de 2009, il y avait des émissions locales à Windsor. Il y avait une Salle des Nouvelles à Windsor. J'étais affecté, moi, comme reporter par une réalisatrice à l'affectation qui m'affectait à des histoires.
9901 Autrement dit, ce que je veux dire, c'est qu'à l'époque, comme reporter, je racontais l'histoire de Windsor à des résidents de Windsor Essex. Arrivent les compressions de 2009, on abolit toutes les émissions.
9902 Tout ce qui nous reste comme contenu local c'est 20 minutes par jour. Un an et demi plus tard, grâce aux pressions exercées par la communauté, vous allez... je pense que vous allez entendre parler de ça la semaine prochaine, on a porté ça à 50 minutes ou un bloc d'une heure. Et récemment, en septembre dernier, ça a été augmenté à 90 minutes.
9903 Mais le 90 minutes local, de contenu local le matin, là, c'est à l'intérieur de l'émission du matin qui vient de... qui est fait à Toronto pour un auditoire torontois et, là, on se détache puis on est à Windsor pendant 90 minutes.
9904 Mais pour le reste de la journée, toutes les émissions viennent de la tête du réseau à Montréal et viennent de Toronto. D'accord.
9905 Avant de prendre ma retraite... bien, depuis 2009 j'étais le seul reporter radio dans ma région, j'étais affecté par la Salle des Nouvelles de Toronto parce qu'il n'y avait plus de Salle des Nouvelles à Windsor.
9906 Donc, à partir de ce moment-là, ma job c'était de raconter l'histoire de Windsor pas à des windsorois, mais à un auditoire du sud, de l'ensemble du sud de l'Ontario, mais l'histoire de Windsor vu à travers les jumelles de Toronto. Voyez-vous ce que je veux dire?
9907 Le résultat de ça c'est que, par exemple, il y a des conseils scolaires francophones, il y a le Conseil scolaire catholique du sud-ouest que nous couvrions avant de façon systématique puis on faisait du reportage là-dessus, bien depuis 2009 le reporter radio n'est jamais allé couvrir le Conseil scolaire catholique parce que Toronto n'en a rien à foutre de ce qui se passe dans les écoles de Windsor.
9908 L'émission du matin faisait des entrevues sur ces sujets-là, couvrait... on couvrait le sujet, mais l'entrevue passe une fois, tandis que quand vous faites un reportage de nouvelle, ça passe plusieurs fois dans la journée.
9909 Donc, il y a eu une érosion de la qualité des services qu'on offrait à notre communauté et, résultat, nous avons perdu beaucoup d'auditeurs.
9910 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Et, justement, cela m'amène à votre position sur de la publicité à Espace Musique et à Radio 2.
9911 Le président, monsieur Lacroix, nous a clairement dit que si on ne permet pas la publicité, le mandat de Radio 2 et d'Espace Musique va rester le même, mais veux, veux pas, ça va paraître à la programmation. Il n'y aura plus de captation comme avant et il y aura peut-être plus de répétitions, peut-être moins d'artistes pris en ondes.
9912 Est-ce que vous pensez que ce que vous venez de me répondre sur l'efficacité et sur cette demande de la nécessité d'avoir de la publicité vont dans le sens de dire, oui, il faut le permettre ou, non, il ne faut pas le permettre. Votre position semble de ne pas vouloir permettre la publicité à la radio, mais en même temps, ça veut dire que la qualité de la programmation va changer.
9913 M. LAURIN : Je vous dirais là-dessus, on n'est pas confortable. On est assis un peu sur la clôture, et j'explique.
9914 Ce n'est pas une préférence. Nos membres sont sur les trottoirs à chaque jour, ils parlent, ils parlent aux gens, ils rencontrent le public. Les gens nous en parlent qu'ils ne sont pas très confortables avec ça, mais on est tout à fait d'accord avec monsieur Lacroix du point de vue que c'est la réalité.
9915 Et ça répond encore à la question que vous m'avez posée tantôt par rapport à l'efficacité et le financement.
9916 À un moment donné, les choses doivent changer et on n'a plus l'argent. C'est pour ça que nous autres on présente peut-être un autre modèle, le point 75, comme une autre forme qui pourrait permettre à Radio-Canada de peut-être pas aller dans cette direction-là, mais c'est la réalité ces jours-ci, la commercialisation depuis les deux dernières décennies du diffuseur public est une réalité. Ça a commencé un petit peu puis poop, poop poop!
9917 Il ne faut pas oublier qu'avant les années soixante-dix et dans les années soixante, il y avait de la pub à Radio-Canada et une des ententes c'est on a eu une augmentation de subvention puis la pub est disparue. Ils ont donné une licence pour Radio 2 et puis, maintenant, ces jours-là reviennent.
9918 Maintenant c'est, comme on dirait "back to the future", c'est la réalité à laquelle fait face le diffuseur public aujourd'hui et c'est difficile pour nous d'être assis ici et dire, non, non, non. C'est... on dit: bien, on comprend la décision.
9919 C'est une décision qui est difficile à avaler, on n'est pas confortable, on n'aime pas ça, mais on comprend parfaitement du point de vue fiscal et des pressions budgétaires pourquoi Radio-Canada prend cette décision-là.
9920 M. MALO : Permettez-moi d'ajouter...
9921 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Brièvement, oui.
9922 M. MALO : ... que notre radio télédiffuseur public canadien, s'il était financé normalement, comme il l'est dans les autres pays industrialisés, il n'y aurait peut-être pas de publicité ou, en tout cas, il y en aurait peut-être moins, même à la télé, puis il n'y en aurait pas à la radio du tout. Ça ne serait pas nécessaire.
9923 Je veux dire, on souffre de financement chronique, on est étouffé financièrement et ça, depuis très longtemps.
9924 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Alors, oui...
9925 MS LAREAU: Oui. I would like to add something to this.
9926 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
9927 MS LAREAU: First of all, Gérard paints a very dramatic portrait of a specific community and all of that is true, but when you asked about efficiencies a couple of questions ago --
9928 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
9929 MS LAREAU: -- I would like to present you a picture that's probably more widespread.
9930 The CBC has the same footprint as it always has, right, and that's why you asked the question. But what's behind that is the people on the floor at the CBC would tell you that they are not doing the job that they could if the Corporation was properly resourced.
9931 They are doing their job and they are doing a good job, but they could do a better job if they felt that there was just a little bit more cushion there, that every decision wasn't something that had to be weighed off against the use of another resource, that the juggling and haggling and the choices that -- that any energy that goes into making choices about covering X versus Y because of resources here versus resources there, competing interests as opposed to collective interests, all the time.
9932 They would tell you that they could do a much better job if all of that energy of dealing with an under-resourced corporation could be ploughed into journalism and programming.
9933 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. And because you are bringing me back to efficiencies, I wonder if some efficiencies could be found in at the corporate level more than at the regional level?
9934 MS LAREAU: I don't think we want to go down that road. I'll let Mark answer that because that's somethng that --
9935 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: You don't have to; I am asking.
9936 MS LAREAU: I want to just point at our Chart number 2 in your package. I just want to respond directly to the CAB, Chart number 2, Number of communities served with daily local programming versus revenue.
9937 If there is any fat in the CBC, it's on the Public Service side; 57 daily local services in French and English.
9938 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay.
9939 MS LAREAU: Right.
9940 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
9941 MS LAREAU: Look on the right hand side.
9942 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
9943 MS LAREAU: It's minuscule compared to what some of the other big broadcasters have at their disposal, right, compared to the job they do. So, I mean we really would take issue with the fact that there is fat in those operations.
9944 I know, but you can answer on the corporate end if you would like, Mark, but --
9945 MR. LAURIN: I think I'll leave that to the Corporation.
9946 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. Well, I don't want to bring the discussion where you don't feel comfortable.
9947 Mr. Chair, I have another subject. Do I have enough time to ask another question? Thank you very much.
9948 It's about the plan, okay.
9949 Et je vais poser cette question en français. C'est sur le plan « Partout pour Tous 2015 ». Le président nous a clairement expliqué, de même que tout le panel, qu'il y avait un virage pour préserver les régions.
9950 M. LAURIN: Oui.
9951 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Est-ce que cela vous... "reassure" j'allais dire, mais vous conforte -- maintenant c'est rendu que j'ai de la difficulté à parler en français -- est-ce que cela vous conforte d'avoir ce message-là et est-ce que, puisqu'il est effectif depuis quelques années, vous avez senti cette différence-là malgré le fait que le Fonds va disparaître graduellement?
9952 M. LAURIN: Absolument et c'est un... on a toujours, toujours, toujours prôné la diffusion locale, la programmation locale. Je vous ai dit tantôt qu'on était là sur la première ligne pour se battre contre les coupures des émissions et des fermetures des stations à plusieurs reprises.
9953 On appuie la Société Radio-Canada et le groupe de gestionnaires dans toute la facette du 2015. C'est où on voit le diffuseur public. Ce qui nous fait extrêmement peur, c'est à partir du début, c'est la disparition -- je vous le dis honnêtement, le FAPL, c'était une... c'était une idée que cet organisme ici qui est devant vous avait pondu et avait présenté au CRTC il y a longtemps et on voit... on voit ces sous-là disparaître et, malgré toutes les...
9954 Je reviens à ce que monsieur Lacroix a dit: « Tu prends un dollar, c'est un dollar, si tu le prends d'une place, il faut que tu le mettes ailleurs et si tu investis dans les... » On est parfaitement d'accord et on encourage Radio-Canada de rester dans les localités et dans la programmation locale, mais on sait que ça va avoir un impact ailleurs.
9955 Et comme on disait dans notre présentation orale, on voit cet impact-là, on l'entend à la radio, on l'entend à la télévision.
9956 Ce qui nous fait peur c'est que ça va tout changer l'image du diffuseur public et on va moins bien servir les Canadiens et les citoyens de ce pays.
9957 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Ma dernière question. J'ai lu les interventions de beaucoup de groupes représentant -- et, là, je veux être sûr que je dis bien -- les Langues officielles dans les communautés minoritaires -- ça va, monsieur le président?
9958 LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui, c'est exact.
9959 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : O.k. Et dans ça on nous parle des journalistes, entre autres, qui sont souvent des journalistes qui arrivent de partout ailleurs au Canada, qui s'en viennent faire presqu'un stage d'un an, deux ans, trois ans, dans le but, bien entendu, de retourner, Toronto et Montréal, et on ne peut pas empêcher les gens de vouloir graduer dans un système, mais c'est ce qui fait que pour ces communautés-là perdre des gens qui sont connus, qu'ils reconnaissent dans la rue et auxquels ils s'habituent, mais ils doivent rapidement apprendre à se détacher, ce n'est pas quelque chose d'intéressant.
9960 Est-ce que vous notez cela dans les communautés où vous vivez et est-ce qu'il y a une façon de contrer cet exode des journalistes qui ne font que passer?
9961 M. LAURIN : Écoutez; lors des dernières rondes de négociation 2008 on a créé... on a ajouté un article dans la convention collective qui permet à Radio-Canada de développer du talent local et on encourage la Société à le faire.
9962 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Oui.
9963 M. LAURIN : La relève dans les régions et surtout dans les communautés minoritaires est un problème. C'est un problème auquel Radio-Canada et CBC fait face à la grandeur du pays. Par contre, on travaille là-dessus, on veut encourager les gens locaux.
9964 Je pourrais donner quelques exemples de gens qui sont arrivés à l'antenne et qui sont venus des communautés. On encourage ça partout à la grandeur du pays, on travaille avec... autant que possible avec la Société pour le faire. C'est "a work in progress is all I can tell you."
9965 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Alors, vous dites un article dans la convention collective?
9966 M. LAURIN : Il y a une convention... oui, dans notre convention collective, on parle de développement de talents communautaires, ce qui permet à Radio-Canada et à la CBC d'aller chercher des gens qui démontrent un certain potentiel et de les amener à l'intérieur de la boîte et de leur donner de l'expérience et leur faire vivre la radiodiffusion ou la télédiffusion en leur donnant des projets, en travaillant avec eux avec nos collègues qui sont là, nos membres, et ça développe ces gens-là.
9967 Ça développe une curiosité et parfois dans le... il y a des exemples qui seraient là et monsieur Lacroix pourrait vous les nommer. Il y a des exemples où les gens ont vraiment accroché, ils sont allés à l'école, ont appris le métier, ils sont revenus et maintenant travaillent à la Société Radio-Canada et c'est des gens du milieu, ce qui fait que les transplantations de Montréal et de retourner à Montréal ou de Québec et de retourner à Montréal, et moi-même j'en étais un.
9968 Je suis parti d'Ottawa, je suis allé à Edmonton, deux ans et demi plus tard, je suis revenu à Ottawa, hein. Mais il peut y en avoir moins de ça si on développe le talent et on met vraiment les voix de la communauté, les voix diverses et les gens s'entendent... entendre les gens de leur communauté leur parler, c'est tout à fait important. On encourage ça c'est certain.
9969 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Oui. Est-ce que c'est un document auquel on pourrait avoir accès?
9970 M. LAURIN : C'est notre convention collective, c'est sur... oui, on peut vous la fournir. On peut l'envoyer à madame Roy et...
9971 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Est-ce que, monsieur le Président, parce que je trouve important, c'est un questionnement de beaucoup de...
9972 LE PRÉSIDENT : Est-ce que c'est un document qui est disponible sur votre site Web?
9973 M. LAURIN : Oui, oui, oui.
9974 LE PRÉSIDENT : On peut en prendre connaissance, donc, ça va.
9975 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Oui. J'apprécierais donc que vous puissiez nous remettre ce document-là pour qu'on puisse en discuter en tout cas avec les organismes qui proviennent des communautés de régions minoritaires.
9976 M. LAURIN : C'est... une de nos missions à la GUILD, c'est de rencontrer les étudiants, rencontre des jeunes et rencontrer des gens autant que possible et de leur parler de la radiodiffusion et du radiodiffuseur et du journalisme et de la création de documentaires et de la programmation. On travaille nous-mêmes à préparer la relève de ce côté-là, hein.
9977 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Merci beaucoup. Oui, un dernier?
9978 MME LAREAU : Pour que les gens restent en région, il faut qu'il y ait des occasions de travailler en région.
9979 M. LAURIN : Exact, oui, ça aussi.
9980 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Vous avez le mot final, madame. Merci beaucoup.
9981 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci. Juste avant de prendre une pause, quelques questions pour monsieur Malo puis c'est des questions à monsieur Malo à titre personnel.
9982 M. MALO : Oui.
9983 LE PRÉSIDENT : Donc, si vous n'êtes pas à l'aise, dites-moi-le, mais je vois maintenant vous me dites que vous avez pris votre retraite, à Windsor ou dans le sud-ouest, dans cette région-là?
9984 Vous avez vécu à d'autres endroits au pays où il y a des communautés minoritaires de langues officielles, je me demandais... parfois on a l'impression que la région de Windsor est un peu l'enfant pauvre par rapport à des décisions de coupures.
9985 Vous avez vu... pouvez-vous nous décrire et comparer cette communauté-là francophone de la région du sud-ouest de l'Ontario comparativement à votre expérience, mettons, à Sudbury, à Moncton ou même à Ottawa?
9986 M. MALO : On ne peut pas comparer Windsor avec Moncton ni même avec Ottawa parce qu'à Ottawa et à Moncton, il y a une masse critique de... il y a une population francophone, on peut même parler d'un marché francophone.
9987 À Windsor et dans les autres communautés francophones hors Québec, il n'y a pas de marché francophone; ce sont des communautés qui reçoivent un service... qui sont censés en tout cas recevoir un service de base du radio-télédiffuseur public, notamment Radio-Canada.
9988 Les défis sont les mêmes. C'est juste que présentement, là... en tout cas, depuis 2009 c'est peut-être pire à Windsor que n'importe où ailleurs parce que s'il y a une communauté francophone hors Québec qui a besoin d'une présence du diffuseur public en français, c'est bien celle-là parce que la communauté...
9989 Vous savez, moi, j'ai vécu à Vancouver pendant 17 ans. La beauté avec Vancouver, ce n'est pas juste les montagnes puis la mer puis tout ça, c'est que les francophones... la communauté francophone se renouvelle constamment. Il y a toujours des... il y a beaucoup de gens qui viennent d'ailleurs.
9990 Alors, il y a des gens qui viennent vivre la un an, deux ans, cinq ans, dix ans et qui repartent, qui retournent au Québec ou qui retournent en Acadie puis il y en a des nouveaux qui arrivent.
9991 On ne voit pas ce phénomène-là avec la même intensité à Windsor. Les gens... en tout cas, moi, je suis là depuis longtemps. Je suis là depuis 15 ans, je suis un peu une exception. Il y a des gens qui sont venus travailler à CBEF quelques années qui sont partis, sont allés vers d'autres pâturages, ils sont peut-être retournés au Québec, moi j'ai choisi de rester là parce que Windsor c'est comme un secret bien gardé. C'est une belle région qui est très méconnue.
9992 Je veux dire, il n'y a personne à Ottawa ou à Montréal ou à Vancouver ou à Calgary qui vont dire: Oh! this year, for our vacation, let's go to Windsor. Ce n'est pas une destination de vacances. On est un peu... on est un peu à l'écart, mais quand même il y a des gens de Windsor qui aiment beaucoup cet aspect-là, il y a moins de visite puis ça coûte moins cher; bon.
9993 Non, mais sérieusement, disons que Windsor est peut-être pire qu'ailleurs.
9994 LE PRÉSIDENT : Une des seules parties du Canada qui est au sud des États-Unis d'ailleurs.
9995 M. MALO : Bien, d'ailleurs, une autre caractéristique, à Windsor, on ne parle pas de nos voisins du sud.
9996 LE PRÉSIDENT : C'est les voisins du nord?
9997 M. MALO : Oui parce que Détroit est au nord de Windsor.
9998 LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui, certainement, certainement.
9999 M. MALO : Est-ce que vous me permettez une anecdote, monsieur le Président?
10000 LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui.
10001 M. MALO : Quand on m'a engagé à partir d'Ottawa, j'étais relève d'été à Ottawa et j'ai reçu un appel d'un patron anglophone à Edmonton qui... Radio-Canada venait tout juste d'acheter la station affiliée francophone, une station francophone, CHFA, qui existait depuis 1949, que la communauté franco-albertaine avait mise sur place et payait et gardait en place.
10002 Radio-Canada l'a achetée.
10003 Mon patron m'a appelé, il m'a dit: « Écoute, il dit, je ne sais pas comment fort tu tiens à ta vie en tant que francophone. Tu n'aurais pas beaucoup de chance ici en Alberta de faire ta vie en français, et caetera, je ne sais pas, tu sais, ça fait qu'il dit: Je veux juste t'avertir d'avance. »
10004 J'ai été bilingue toute ma vie, moi, je n'avais pas de problème. Je lui ai dit: « Non, il n'y a pas de problème, je vais y aller, je vais aller. »
10005 Mais laissez-moi vous dire que je suis arrivé là-bas, j'ai fait... il y avait une Caisse populaire, j'ai acheté ma voiture, j'ai loué mon appartement, tout mon cercle d'amis, j'ai fait ma vie en français pendant deux ans et demi en Alberta.
10006 Et tu as une communauté très très très forte dans différentes parties du pays et j'ai été abondamment surpris et ça m'a fait plaisir de voir ça et les gens nous écoutaient, Radio-Canada, ils accrochaient sur tout ce qu'on disait. Je me rappelle -- puis, là, je vais finir là-dessus -- je me rappelle être sorti d'Edmonton, être allé à Beaumont pour faire une entrevue avec un fermier assez avancé dans l'âge qui a fait sa vie en Alberta en français, qui ne parlait pas un mot d'anglais.
10007 Ça m'a complètement bouleversé et puis j'ai réalisé qu'il y a des gens partout dans ce pays-ci qui ont besoin d'un diffuseur public et comme Karen a dit, ils ont besoin d'avoir des voies locales.
10008 LE PRÉSIDENT : Justement, pour assurer le maintien et la vitalité de ces gens.
10009 M. MALO : Exactement, et la diversité et qui s'entendent eux-mêmes. Ce n'est pas assez de dire qu'une fois par mois on va avoir un reportage d'une région. Il faut que les gens s'entendent constamment.
10010 LE PRÉSIDENT : Excellent. Merci beaucoup mesdames, messieurs.
10011 M. MALO : Alors, c'est nous qui vous remercions.
10012 M. LAURIN : Oui, et puis merci d'avoir donné... Écoutez; this was a hard act to follow, the folks before us were excellent and it's great to see that they're here and we command you for doing that.
10013 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, your participation enriches the public record and our deliberations. So, thank you very much.
10014 M. LAURIN : Thank you very very much.
10015 LE PRÉSIDENT : Donc, nous allons suspendre jusqu'à 1110, pour enchaîner avec les autres présentateurs. Merci.
--- Upon recessing at 1101
--- Upon resuming at 1112
10016 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary...
10017 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
10018 For the record, we will now hear the presentation of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, and after lunch, at 1:30, we will hear the presentation of MAC, on behalf of Access 2020.
10019 Now we will start with the presentation of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.
10020 Please introduce yourself, and you have ten minutes.
10021 Thank you.
10022 MR. MORRISSON: Mr. Chair and Commissioners, my name is Ian Morrison, and I speak for the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. It is an independent watchdog for Canadian programming, on the air and online. It works in the anglophone sector of the country.
10023 Friends is not affiliated with any broadcaster or political party, and we are supported by 175,000 Canadian families, people like these:
--- Video presentation
10024 MR. MORRISON: These comments come from eight town hall consultations across the country in recent months, called "The CBC We Want".
10025 Although the participants are big supporters of public broadcasting, like all friends, they believe that they have a right and a responsibility to offer constructive criticism.
10026 Je veux souligner que lorsque nous critiquons la Société, nous ne visons pas les artisans talentueux qui créent la programmation, mais plutôt des politiques et des pratiques spécifiques de sa haute direction.
10027 The CBC we want is properly funded to do its job. In poll after poll, a significant majority of Canadians say they support maintaining or increasing public funding for the CBC.
10028 We recognize that your Commission has no power to establish the CBC's parliamentary allocation, but we do urge you to send a strong message in your decision that the current level of funding is insufficient to discharge CBC's statutory mandate.
10029 Only four of twenty-six western democracies spend a lower proportion of GDP than Canada on public broadcasting -- Portugal, Poland, New Zealand, and the United States of America.
10030 The CBC has been singled out for disproportionate damage by the government. From 2006 to 2015, total program spending will have increased by 15 percent, while spending on the CBC will have declined by 22 percent. That is a 37 percent gap, based on budget and Treasury Board data.
10031 The CBC's response to this financial crisis has been to replace declining funding with more commercial revenue. This is a bad business strategy, and also bad public policy. It has not prevented deep cuts to CBC's programs, services and staff. It has not resulted in increased audiences or profit. It has alienated core supporters, and it has skewed programming and scheduling decisions.
10032 This is why Friends is profoundly opposed to the CBC's request for permission to bring ads back to some of its English and French radio services.
10033 This is also why we recommend that the Commission look closely at alternative funding models for a less commercial CBC English television, especially if next year the CBC were to lose the Hockey Night in Canada franchise that we estimate represents more than half of all of the English television network's ad revenue.
10034 This is why our written submission proposes a number of specific licence conditions or expectations, commitments regarding the type of program content that we believe is essential for a public broadcaster, such as documentaries, arts and culture, children's shows, and regional reflection.
10035 Like you, we wish it were not necessary to impose this kind of detailed regulatory monitoring and oversight. We understand the value of flexibility. However, we cannot support the CBC when it asks you to trust it to do the right thing. Recent past experience shows that such trust would be misplaced.
10036 Since the previous licence renewal 13 years ago, the CBC has walked away from numerous commitments, and now wants to be let off the hook for many more. This must not be allowed to happen.
10037 The CBC says that many of these decisions are financially motivated. They simply cannot afford to do these things any more. We disagree. We think it is a matter of choice. Does the CBC want to be a public service broadcaster, or a commercial broadcaster that loses $1 billion a year?
10038 Unfortunately, the CBC has answered that question in the Response to Interventions, where it says, more than once, that it wants to be treated like any other broadcaster. They have tried to backpedal on that this week, but their words speak for themselves.
10039 Well, Mr. Chair and Commissioners, the CBC is not any other broadcaster. The CBC is Canada's national public broadcaster, with pride of place in the Broadcasting Act, and it should, and it must, be treated accordingly.
10040 In the ongoing absence of a transparent, arm's length, professional system for appointing the Corporation's chair, directors and CEO, an absence that Friends deplores, we are forced to look elsewhere for an appropriate governance model.
10041 Friends would like the Commission to create a distinct regulatory regime specifically for the CBC. Failing that, we invite you to examine, and recommend, a system along the lines of the BBC Trust, which, while not without its flaws, does provide an independent means to ensure that key strategic decisions of the public broadcaster are scrutinized to determine whether or not they make a positive contribution to public value.
10042 Under such a system, the CBC would not have been allowed to, for instance, unilaterally abandon the program format for Radio 2 without an opportunity for public input.
10043 Without such safeguards, we respectfully submit that proceedings like this are far less meaningful than they should be. The CBC is called on the carpet every decade, or more, and in between apparently gets to do pretty much whatever it likes.
10044 The CBC boasts about its many forms of public accountability. However, there is an important difference between simple reporting and real accountability.
10045 Friends submits that when it comes to actually listening to what Canadians want, and acting on the input, the CBC's performance leaves a lot to be desired.
10046 The unfortunate result is that many of its strongest supporters are losing patience with the CBC. That would be a tragedy, as it would capitulate to those forces that are opposed to a robust and independent public broadcaster.
10047 We need to turn this downward spiral around by increasing the real and perceived value of the CBC to Canadians.
10048 Commissioners, the idea of public broadcasting is too important to abandon. We need to help the CBC learn how to earn and deserve renewed public support, and then mobilize that support to advocate for resources to do its job.
10049 I would be pleased to answer your questions, but first I would like to give the rest of Friends' ten minutes to a few more comments from some of our and the CBC's friends.
--- Video presentation
10050 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. That is the end of your presentation?
10051 MR. MORRISON: That's all I've got.
10052 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's perfect, I was just asking.
10053 Commissioner Duncan will have some questions for you to start off with.
10054 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Good morning.
10055 First of all, that might be all you have to say at this very minute, but you certainly said a lot in your submission, and I read it with great interest.
10056 You were mentioning in your comments this morning that you would like the Commission to create a distinct regulatory regime specifically for the CBC. I am wondering, because you have made a number of suggestions throughout your document on the various issues, as to what would be a COL or an expectation, if we took all of those recommendations, would that comprise what you mean by a distinct regulatory regime, or could you tell me more about what you would expect there?
10057 MR. MORRISON: Well, seeking not to repeat, first off, probably we have common ground that the CBC is not a broadcaster like any other, and all of those comments about "We should be treated like any other broadcaster", are worth absolutely nothing. They should never have been put on the record, and shame on them for saying that.
10058 But, beyond that, we think that you need to have the CBC coming here from time to time, and "time to time" would never be 13 years. Your Chair's predecessor -- it's a blot on his record that those administrative decisions were made to delay the CBC coming back here.
10059 So, from time to time the CBC should be coming here, and should be held to a higher standard than the private sector.
10060 There is a lot of detail in our presentation on this. I particularly commend to your attention, and would offer to provide you more detail, if you wish, the application of the BBC Trust model as a mechanism. That would require a statutory change, but it is something that you could recommend.
10061 The status quo is just not good enough.
10062 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So, then, I do understand when you say to create a distinct regulatory regime, if that was as far as we could go, incorporating your recommendations would address that line, but then, beyond that, you offer the BBC Trust as a model.
10063 I think it would be useful. I don't know if Staff would already have that document, but I think it would be useful to submit it, if you would.
10064 MR. MORRISON: I will write the Secretary General a letter.
10065 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: That's fine. Sure, that would be great.
10066 I am wondering, because you had mentioned in your submission -- you had a lengthy section on the importance of sports to the CBC, and the significance if they were to lose that. So I am just wondering, following along on that point -- I did raise the point -- with respect to the terms of licence, I raised the recommendation that you had made, that we make a provision to meet with the CBC if they fail to negotiate that agreement again, renegotiate it, or under substantially the same terms, and they were not receptive to that idea.
10067 I don't know if you were listening to the hearing at that point.
10068 So I just wanted to -- because I have read the document, and you certainly create a great cause of concern, I am just wondering if you are satisfied or you are still holding your position, I guess, that we should put some provision in the licence term, as you recommended.
10069 MR. MORRISON: I would say that we are completely dissatisfied with the CBC's response.
10070 Although I personally have not been able to listen to everything, I have arranged for people, many of them smarter than me, to be my eyes and ears. So I am fully familiar with the comments you made.
10071 Just to give you a summary, we have picked up information from sources we trust -- and I don't think that any of this information would be news to Nazr Mohammed or to George Cope, or even to Gary Bettman. It's stuff that's out there.
10072 When we first publicized the concern after submitting it to you, a Globe and Mail reporter said: None of this is new. I knew all that.
10073 Our concern is -- just to summarize it in a nutshell -- currently the CBC is generating about $130 million of advertising revenue from Hockey Night in Canada and a few other small sports properties.
10074 In the last fiscal period, the last broadcast season, it was 53 percent of their ad revenue.
10075 Now, you have, of course, had access to a confidential briefing, and there are good reasons why that should be confidential. So you will have a way of evaluating the broad strokes, but what we are trying to do is scope for you the importance.
10076 And President Lacroix said: We are not a hockey channel.
10077 It has been reported to me that he so said.
10078 And that's true. But if you take the eight months of the year -- a typical year, not a year with a lockout -- if you take the eight months of the year when 400 hours of programming, in prime time, are related to professional sports, 90-something percent of it hockey, it is 40 percent a sports channel. There are about 1,000 hours of prime time in eight months of the year.
10079 So it's a very serious thing, and if they were to lose the rights -- and the rights come up for negotiation, it's public knowledge, next year, the current contract ends in 2014 -- and that is only, effectively -- no matter how fast you put out a decision, that will only be the beginning of the second year of your decision -- there might be a 400-hour, prime time gap to fill in the schedule.
10080 Plug in a number. We plugged in $500,000. Maybe $400,000 is a better number, but $500,000 times that number of hours is $200 million.
10081 So they are losing the ad revenue, and the whole business model is cast into doubt, because the remaining ad revenue is just north of $100 million, and currently -- the data in our brief on page 23 show that they currently have something like $80 million a year of costs to maintain it.
10082 So if it were to happen -- and we are not advocating that it happen. We do not have a mandate from the 175,000 families to be against hockey. But if it were to happen -- and it could, because their competitors have deep pockets and can afford to take a long view -- then it's appropriate to discuss these things, not to sweep them under the rug. And, at the very least, they should have to come back here to explain themselves, because the loss of something in the order of $200 million to the Corporation is not an English television network problem, it is a corporate problem -- English, French, radio, television -- everything -- including the unregulated services.
10083 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I appreciate your comments and bringing them to our concern.
10084 Based on the analysis you have done, what impact do you think the current lockout is having?
10085 MR. MORRISON: You can learn a fair bit about the current lockout impact by looking at the financials. It is quite serious. It will get much more serious if it continues longer, and I don't think that the CBC has any influence over that. That is something that is almost, if not completely, beyond its control.
10086 But of the $130 million of revenue that they have -- and you can check this with your confidential briefing -- about $50 million is the playoffs, which begin in the month of April.
10087 So the revenue is not spread out equally, it comes at the end, and when a season is cancelled, they are going to have a very serious problem, something in the range of the third year of the government's cuts from the 2012 Budget.
10088 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So we are already going to experience the impact of hockey on their plans, even before the renewal.
10089 MR. MORRISON: Except that rational interests might align. That is to say, the CBC interest, some American broadcaster's interest, the interest of the owners and the interest of the players, might cause them to do the right thing. Who knows?
10090 I suppose that there would not have been a First World War if everybody had been rational.
10091 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Well, certainly there is increasing pressure on the parties to settle.
10092 With respect to the regions, and representation of the regions, what is your reaction to CBC's suggestion that new media would be the solution for reflecting the regions?
10093 MR. MORRISON: Profound disdain.
10094 We think, by the way -- let me say, having criticized a few things about the current management, that their recognition of their regional responsibilities, after a decade of trying to avoid that and withdraw from the regions of Canada --
10095 And, by the way, I remember from a consultation, somebody in Newfoundland once said to me: Toronto is also a region, like all the others. The problem is that Toronto just doesn't get it.
10096 MR. MORRISON: So talking about the regions, they are moving in the right direction, certainly in radio. Some of the news services are good.
10097 I do not have the high opinion, nor do our supporters have the high opinion of that Hamilton initiative that others have presented.
10098 But one deficit that we see at the moment -- and this would come back to conditions of licence -- would be that a certain amount of programming for the network -- I am talking television here -- should be coming from the regions, and we suggest a number like 40 percent.
10099 It's something you can do. It's not inherently more expensive to make a program in one place rather than another. There are the problems with provincial tax incentives and all of that, but you could be pushing the English television network to do a minimum -- and we suggest 40 percent -- beyond --
10100 What is that definition, 120, 150 kilometres from Toronto's City Hall, or something like that?
10101 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes.
10102 Did you have a chance to look at the amended COLs that the CBC filed on Tuesday?
10103 MR. MORRISON: Yes, I do have that here somewhere.
10104 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: They say there that they don't feel they can make a specific commitment to non-news local programming due to financial constraints.
10105 MR. MORRISON: Yes.
10106 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I think this is the same condition that we are talking about, that they should be held to have a certain percentage from the regions.
10107 MR. MORRISON: Yes.
10108 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I am interested in --
10109 MR. MORRISON: If you have a chance when they come back -- and you are still in a position to pose questions to them -- try to find out why national programming coming from other places than the network headquarters is inherently more expensive.
10110 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. Thank you, we will ask them that.
10111 I had some other questions here. I was actually hoping to have my lunch hour to get more organized with my questions, so if you don't mind --
10112 MR. MORRISON: Well, you'll probably have a better lunch, Commissioner, as a result.
10113 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: See? Yes, every cloud has a silver lining or some such thing as that. Yeah.
10114 So on the first-run programming I take your point that you feel there should be a requirement. You note in your study of that Toronto station the higher percentage of -- a lower percentage of repeat and primetime but much higher outside of primetime, but you're recommending a general 50 percent across the board.
10115 MR. MORRISON: That's our recommendation. But we are just drawing to you attention something that was -- these are your data, by the way. I mean, you own the logs. All we did was run them through a machine, you know.
10116 But the --
10117 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: We don't come up with pretty pictures like that one you came up with.
10118 MR. MORRISON: But it's going in the -- it's going in the wrong direction. It's the velocity as an economist would say, of the repeats that is wrong.
10119 And I think what you can do, without interfering in minute detail in the corporation's management is to either encourage or require a change in that direction that there should be some balance between original and repeat programming.
10120 Of course, that has a fiscal implication. But you know ultimately, if you think about repeats, once you get to 100 percent repeats you have no programming.
10121 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Well, actually my next question was what impact you thought that would have on their costs? But, actually, you sort of average it out.
10122 It would seem there would be no impact on their costs from that recommendation because you had very high original content in primetime.
10123 MR. MORRISON: It's like in accounting failing to amortize a capital cost and living off it until something bad happens. There is an analogy to be made.
10124 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you.
10125 I'm just going to continue. Just bear with me a second while I...
10126 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: CBC did address some of your comments in their response on October the 19th.
10127 And I don't know if you have any -- just let me -- your answer about the multiplatform approach to serve the regions. You spoke in terms of the Hamilton experience but I was actually thinking more than that.
10128 That was because I'm not -- I'm concerned that people outside of -- well, not everybody has equal broadband capability for one thing. I'm concerned that not everybody is interested in using computers. Not everybody can and not everybody can afford it and not everybody is interested. I just don't know that this is the proper solution for regional programming.
10129 MR. MORRISON: Ah, yes. Okay. You raised that earlier and I took you away from it.
10130 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Oh, sorry. No, that's fine.
10131 MR. MORRISON: Sorry proves that you're a Canadian.
10132 MR. MORRISON: You know, the phrase "digital citizen" you know that some of the people that we just showed you on video have coined, you should not have to be digital to be a citizen and the Broadcasting Act does not say that.
10133 And we're living in a country with an increasingly aging population. There are a number of people for a number of reasons who do not wish or have the capacity or cannot afford that. I think it's the role of your Commission, at least implied if not explicitly stated in the various statutes, to look out for those people. I mean they need you to look out for them.
10134 We haven't done any recent polling about public expectations of the CRTC but we have at an earlier point in this century and there's quite a bit of trust in this institution to protect the public.
10135 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: It's interesting because, not only in fairness to the people living in the regions which is where I come from, but these digital citizens that you talk about, not everybody in Toronto I expect is a digital citizen either.
10136 So I think, first of all, it's a poor approach for regional because -- for that reason. I think there is more limited local content in the regions. So I think it's not --
10137 MR. MORRISON: You mentioned -- I'm sorry, I didn't mean to over speak.
10138 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: It's all right. Go ahead.
10139 MR. MORRISON: You mentioned Hamilton. Because it's a digital service you and I and friends in Whitehorse can watch it. I urge you to surprise them by just watching it at random some hour and see what you think about it.
10140 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: All right, I will.
10141 Interesting, you mentioned there Whitehorse -- or Whitehorse did you say? Did you in --
10142 MR. MORRISON: Off the top of my head, I guess. Yes.
10143 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay, but I'm thinking Yellowknife.
10144 MR. MORRISON: Oh.
10145 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: But CBC in their presentation -- this is one of the instances where they talk about they want to be treated like the commercial broadcasters. They want the 14 hours and the seven hours.
10146 But when you think about a community like Yellowknife, which would be less appealing to a commercial broadcaster, do you think that's a fair approach?
10147 Shouldn't the CBC be required to provide more and better service in that area? I know that they are saying they will continue to offer 10.5 hours but not by condition or expectation. They'll do it on their own and trust us those features.
10148 Do you think -- I don't want to put words in your mouth -- do you think that it's the proper approach for the public broadcaster to want to have the same condition in that respect as a commercial broadcaster?
10149 MR. MORRISON: I think, at the risk of repeating myself, it's completely unacceptable. I mean, if you were a CBC manager it would make your life easy, wouldn't it? I mean, it would be a rationale for doing less.
10150 But it would be the -- and in a sense I think I'm quoting you, Commissioner Duncan, to say the commercial broadcaster that loses a billion dollars a year, it's that kind of value set. It's your task in our view to hold them to a higher standard. That involves a whole range of things. The COL, conditions of licence are part of that. But the governance structure, all of the accountability things also come into play.
10151 But, yes, two more hours in Yellowknife, yeah.
10152 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I did have the opportunity since I've been on the Commission to visit CBC in Yellowknife and they have a great operation there, very enthusiastic people and we enjoyed visiting with them. So I know they're committed --
10153 MR. MORRISON: I find -- I mentioned it in French at the beginning that we're doing -- nothing in our submission is designed to criticize the dedicated people who make programming -- the people who are you know sitting before me at this table.
10154 The criticism is only of the senior management, sometimes people who through no fault of their own, don't have the kind of skills and experience that they should have to manage the most important cultural institution in the country.
10155 But what you have described in Yellowknife, I have been in so many CBC radio and television stations around this country and there are so many dedicated people working very, very hard at the kind of things that the Media Guild people said are definitely true. It's something to celebrate.
10156 But those people need more encouragement, more leadership. They need more resources. They are really pressed.
10157 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you for that. I think we're in agreement on that. I just want to -- you're opposed to the commercialization of Radio One and Radio 2.
10158 MR. MORRISON: Yeah.
10159 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Am I correct in that?
10160 MR. MORRISON: Yes.
10161 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: But then I think you say that -- just bear with me a second here -- that you want the minimum hours. You want an expectation -- first of all, just the bigger picture, let me step back a bit.
10162 I notice that a number of your points are COLs and a number of expectations. And CBC seems to be wanting, as we know and we have talked about, more flexibility. But they seem to maybe want to move away from expectations and just deal with a couple of COLs.
10163 The fact that some of yours are stated as expectations versus COLs, do I assume that you would expect the CBC to put the same weight on them, whether they are a COL or an expectation?
10164 MR. MORRISON: You would hope so, wouldn't you? I mean it's a difference between a legal and a moral obligation. Ethical people treat those moral things as important.
10165 But I guess I would say we have made a number of suggestions to the Commission regarding expectations and conditions of licence. We trust you as commissioners and with your staff, to look at the big picture and find a reasonable balance that you think will work. That's not something that anybody on the outside can see because you are in a position to see the big picture.
10166 But since you raised the question of commercials on Radio 2 and Espace Musique, we think that -- and by the way, there was an image earlier, I've forgotten who raised it, about a cliff that you drop off and you never get back up. You got up that cliff in 1974, your predecessors. You just forced the CBC out of commercial activity on radio which it had been in since 1936.
10167 So climbing cliffs is not impossible if the will is there, but in this case there is a bit of a slippery slope and Radio One despite what President Lacroix says -- I mean I could quote what President Lacroix's predecessors said about ads back in the last hearings. They are completely at odds.
10168 We think -- let's see. Mr. Goldstein was on the CAB panel yesterday. He said that he thought CBC was low balling potential revenue.
10169 The data that we have gathered supports Mr. Goldstein's position. We think that this is turning particularly the English side, Radio 2, into a kind of a profit centre for the rest of the network. We think it's a shame.
10170 We also see it as the change of format going four or five years ago, the introduction of ads, increasing popularization. We see a bit of a pattern here and we think it's going in the wrong direction and we urge you to stop it.
10171 I also strongly support the private broadcasters' position. It's who is going to be hurt by this in an economic sense. It's going to be the radio broadcasters in small markets and the small broadcasters in the big markets.
10172 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Now, I read your section on that, of course, in here. Do you have any more detailed forecasts than what were included in here?
10173 MR. MORRISON: Yeah, and if you like, I'd be happy to -- I think CBC said in the reply document, which we found on the Web -- the first time I've ever dealt with a broadcaster, by the way, that did not copy intervenors to give them information on what they were doing. They wanted to be treated like other broadcasters.
10174 But we read in there something about a secret report that we had. If you're interested we can pull that report together and put it into a form that could be part of your record. It would take me a few days to do so, I would think.
10175 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I think that would be very helpful.
10176 THE CHAIRPERSON: How long could you -- how long would it take you for you to propose that?
10177 MR. MORRISON: Okay. Can I do a best efforts here that we would do our best efforts to get it to you by, say, Tuesday?
10178 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. I'm not saying that it's necessarily on the record, yet. We'll have to look at it.
10179 MR. MORRISON: Okay. But anything that is useful to you officially or unofficially. I mean we don't care if it's on the record. It's just we're trying to contribute to the process.
10180 HE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
10181 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay, thank you.
10182 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But by the end of the day Tuesday to the Secretary and copying CBC, please.
10183 MR. MORRISON: Okay.
10184 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's a publicly-available document.
10185 MR. MORRISON: Yeah, but we always copy the broadcasters when we do that. We know the rules.
10186 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
10187 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you, so okay.
10188 So with respect to then regional live music I think that was the point you were trying to make at 183 of your submission. It's not that you didn't make your point clearly. It's just that I'm rushing trying to read my point, my own point.
10189 MR. MORRISON: Okay.
10190 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: But --
10191 MR. MORRISON: You said paragraph 183?
10192 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: 183, yes. You're talking about the amount of regionally-originated production in general and of regional live music in particular.
10193 And that live music, of course, was one of the areas I understood CBC to say would be cut out of or reduced on Radio 2 and Espace Musique if we --
10194 MR. MORRISON: Mr. Steinman said that on Tuesday, I think, here did he not? If I understand from what's been reported to me, I may have seen a transcript.
10195 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: The CBC panel did say that it would be eliminated if they didn't get -- or reduced if they didn't get it.
10196 MR. MORRISON: But what was wrong with what they said, according to all my information, and I've got some good information, is the tense of the sentence. They have already done that.
10197 Like, we don't actually see what more they can cut. They have greatly reduced some of the services that used to be taken for granted on Radio 2. I'm not as familiar as Espace Musique.
10198 And, by the way, Espace Musique is a different case. You know, as we see it, the world classical culture is down to 40 percent and in bad times of day on Radio 2. But Espace Musique has 60 percent of that, so they're not the same thing at all.
10199 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I noticed just along those lines that you make a point in your presentation about the cuts proposed or the -- well, I guess it would be cuts if it doesn't get approved.
10200 But the way their forecasts were drawn up, the hardship was imposed to a greater extent on Radio 2 instead of Espace Musique or not equally on both or proportionate --
10201 MR. MORRISON: Speaking off the top of my head -- I didn't bring all my papers here obviously, but my recollection is that the projections -- you'll have them in the record by going out, say, two, three years, they've got a revenue you know in the 17 -- I'm speaking in ranges here -- $17 million range from Radio 2 and something like $1.5 for Espace Musique.
10202 Then we looked at the total cost of the services and for some reason Espace Musique is you know, up there at the same cost as Radio 2. So if their plans happened, we think they would have more revenue.
10203 But if their plans happened the people of Canada through the parliamentary allocation would be supporting Espace Musique and Radio 2 would be contributing to the CBC's bottom line three years out. That's our reading of it. I don't know if you have a different view.
10204 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: No. Well, I think that's an interesting comment and perhaps speaks to the credibility of their projections, would you say?
10205 MR. MORRISON: We think their projections are too modest.
10206 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes.
10207 MR. MORRISON: But I'll tell you where the real money is, and that's Radio One and La Première Chaîne. That's where the real money is. You get up to much larger amounts and that will be included in what I will send you.
10208 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: And it seems that the further -- that the move to commercialization on the radio service would probably in the future -- you'd be concerned, I gather from your comments, would change the nature of those services like it did on the television.
10209 MR. MORRISON: Well, sitting quietly in the -- I was here Monday morning and then I had to go out west because the Prime Minister very unkindly called by-elections and I was hosting public broadcasting all candidates meetings in Calgary and Victoria.
10210 But I noticed as I had to walk out the great Mark Starowicz sitting here, now responsible for documentaries. Starowicz was involved at the time when radio lost its commercials. Many people call that the renaissance of radio. You know it was just like a complete rebirth of the power of CBC radio as a distinctive service, something you'd expect from a public broadcaster.
10211 It enjoys a huge loyalty with Canadians, way beyond its 10 or 15 percent audience share. People -- you know, if you check do they tune in at least half-hour a week, radio is such a powerful thing you know people tend also to tune in to a favourite radio channel or service, whereas with television they are just -- they're shopping around. They're watching programs.
10212 And so what has been proposed we like to -- more in sorrow than in anger, we like to think, is being proposed by people who just don't get it, just how important this is to the public broadcaster's mandate and the fidelity of the Canadian people to public broadcasting.
10213 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I noticed that -- I believe that you make a comment in here that what was it, 175,000 people that responded to your survey?
10214 MR. MORRISON: No, I think you might be confusing us with the Reimagine people. We did not compete with Reimagine on a survey. We have cooperated with them.
10215 But what we did was we analysed -- you remember your Commission called this hearing originally for September of 2011.
10216 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes.
10217 MR. MORRISON: And we took -- the one-year gap gave us a chance to do a very detailed content analysis of something like 2,007, actually, submissions that had been put into your -- I guess -- no, they weren't all put in because you had cancelled it for the deadline date. So we just analyzed them all and that gave us some background.
10218 We actually have -- our group is supported by 175,000 Canadian families. So we estimate you can at least, you know, almost double that in terms of the people that communicate with us about these things. I mean, for example, I know about problems with CBC and complaints, as Louise Poirier raised earlier, because I hear from these people all the time.
10219 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: But I thought what I had read -- and maybe you could speak to that -- was the impact on that audience of commercializing those two radio stations. Are you -- you seem to indicate that they'd lose the audience.
10220 MR. MORRISON: Well, yeah. I mean, there is a difference between our supporters in the Canadian public. Our supporters are people who believe intensely something.
10221 If you're polling you can find out that -- by the way every poll that we have ever commissioned is on our website. There are about 15 of them, including the one that asks about the CRTC.
10222 So I'm not pretending that our membership base reflects Canadians although we can measure the extent to which it does. But I was struck by the -- I've forgotten the name -- but a woman who is an expert that was called by the CBC to support its position on the Radio 2 advertising question.
10223 She said at one point that something like almost half of the people that she surveyed said they would tune in quite a bit less. I thought she was going off message but she's an expert. She's telling the truth, you know.
10224 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Morrison. I think you've answered my questions. I'll have some later if I come tomorrow, but I'll give my colleagues a chance.
10225 Thank you very much.
10226 MR. MORRISON: Okay.
10227 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Vice-Chair.
10228 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I had some questions but I think Ms Duncan sort of did the rounds of them.
10229 A really interesting presentation. I also liked the subtle art that you have of sending messages out there. It's really quite well done.
10230 But to the CBC specifically, first of all, allowing commercials on Radio 2 would certainly change the nature and the experience of the listener. That's pretty clear.
10231 You would agree with that, Mr. Morrison?
10232 MR. MORRISON: Yeah, yeah.
10233 Well, number one, supposing you have 12 minutes an hour, just take that as a number of commercials, you've just reduced the programming by 25 percent.
10234 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yeah. And in terms of --
10235 MR. MORRISON: 20 percent, yeah, 20 percent.
10236 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: 12 -- 20, yeah.
10237 MR. MORRISON: Yeah.
10238 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And in terms of the accounting, two issues came up yesterday. Obviously, a lot of issues came up. One of them was that they were sort of low balling their estimates.
10239 The other issue was did you see in the cutbacks that there was disproportionate cutting of Radio 2 and Espace Musique as a proportion of the parliamentary allocation to Radio -- to CBC?
10240 MR. MORRISON: I think the most meaningful thing, if you and I put ourselves in the mind-set of the senior management of the CBC and there is a shortage of money, what are we going to do?
10241 I don't think you would look at how you're cutting up the parliamentary allocation. You look at the whole thing.
10242 So again I don't walk around with decimal places in the back of my head. But it's about $1.8 million for the SRC/CBC.
10243 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yeah, m'hmm.
10244 MR. MORRISON: So when we look at the size and scope of radio in that whole thing it comes out somewhere like 16 percent, you know -- let's say 15 just to rough it.
10245 If radio takes a cut that is -- you know, you have to think that the other services including the unregulated services, they all do their share, radio's cut should only be that one-seventh.
10246 And we think that they have disproportionately suffered to date, for some reason, and we don't know why.
10247 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: The ultimate view perhaps being to make a better case for allowing commercial revenue to come through the second stations.
10248 MR. MORRISON: Yes. I am old enough to have learned not to imply motives to other people egregiously, so I just don't know why they do their bad things.
10249 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: In terms of programming and CanCon, you heard -- as you know, there were all kinds of numbers -- 100 percent, it should be 75 percent, it should be 80 percent.
10250 Are you comfortable with the numbers that are being offered?
10251 MR. MORRISON: We would insist that the numbers should be compatible between the English and the French services, and the number 80 seems like a good and reasonable number to us.
10252 I commend to your attention the wise words of our Prime Minister, quoted on the first page of our brief, where he said that it would be a good thing to have more programming in the 20 percent coming from other parts of the world, rather than just American commercial programming.
10253 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I guess we can't under-stress the importance of original programming. You mentioned that earlier.
10254 MR. MORRISON: Yes, because the Broadcasting Act says so. You know, it's right there.
10255 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And are you comfortable with the proposition that has been put forth by CBC/Radio-Canada on original programming?
10256 MR. MORRISON: At the risk of repetition, I think I responded to Commissioner Duncan at one point, saying: We think that there should be a commitment -- I am talking English television -- to put a certain proportion of entertainment programming outside --
10257 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes, to come from the regions.
10258 What was the percentage? I missed that.
10259 MR. MORRISON: I said 40.
10260 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Forty percent.
10261 MR. MORRISON: We suggest that to you. I mean, you might, in your wisdom, decide that some other number is better, and we would be very happy if you just put that on your list of issues to be dealt with.
10262 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes. I was taking notes, and I didn't get the actual number, so I am happy that we cleared that up.
10263 I don't want to get into the details of the hockey situation, but you made an interesting case. If you conservatively calculate that an hour of television will cost you half a million dollars, and you multiply that by 400 hours, you have a $200 million spend.
10264 MR. MORRISON: You can subtract the $15 million profit, I will call it, that we believe they currently have. So maybe you are --
10265 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: On the hockey side.
10266 MR. MORRISON: Yes. Maybe the net result is something like $185 million.
10267 It doesn't matter, conceptually it's the same.
10268 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes, there's $200 million, and there's $15 million in profit potentially. So even if you subtract that, you are still short $185 million.
10269 MR. MORRISON: Yes, and they don't appear to admit that.
10270 Now, they have given you confidential information, so behind closed doors maybe you can hash that out.
10271 We would be very happy to be wrong, but we don't think we are.
10272 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Well, they don't want to speak -- they don't even want to discuss the hypothetical, if you followed the full presentation on Monday.
10273 MR. MORRISON: Yes. It's amazing, when a deal is done by the NHL with an American broadcaster, a press release comes out from the American broadcaster: We've just done a deal. It's worth this much, over so many years.
10274 When a deal is done in this country, it's the Official Secrets Act, you know?
10275 It's an amazing thing, how different it is across the border.
10276 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And, at the end of the day, there should be a contingency plan for filling those 400 hours. That's the position of --
10277 MR. MORRISON: If you ignored this, you would be ignoring something on a scale larger than the three-year cut that the Minister of Finance imposed in March, at least according to us, and you would be --
10278 The blank cheque image is not intended to be discourteous, but if you were to ignore it -- I guess I will risk that and say: I think you would be writing them a blank cheque, because something fundamental could change in the second year of a licence -- three-year, five-year, seven-year, it doesn't matter how long the licence is -- that would be on a scope and scale so severe to CBC's interest that, at the very least, they should be back here explaining what the hell they are going to do about it.
10279 I should remove the word "hell" from that sentence.
10280 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: That's fine. Good Canadian, as you said earlier, sorry, and no hell.
10281 But wouldn't that be tantamount, almost, to creating sort of two separate licences, or two separate conditions of licence within that licence, one with the hockey and one without it?
10282 MR. MORRISON: That might possibly be a problem, but you folks are creative people.
10283 What we are really suggesting is an idea, and the idea is: You should find a way to make sure -- not just leave it to them to volunteer to come back retrospectively, like the eloquent defence of the Radio 2 changes that came five years after the fact, a couple of days ago.
10284 You should find a way to make sure that they come back here and explain it to you, and, through your public process, to the people of Canada.
10285 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And that position is warranted given that they are not a sports channel, but 40 percent of their content is sports-based, if you will, according to what you told us today.
10286 MR. MORRISON: Yes, and I was trying to be a bit ironic. I think that they are a sports channel dressed up as an all-purpose channel, I guess, right now. There is an excessive dependence, obviously.
10287 I mean, you can see it if you compare SRC television and the English television network.
10288 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And when you do look at SRC, I mean, SRC did find a way to come out of not having hockey and --
10289 MR. MORRISON: To be fair, the economics are different. It's a different issue.
10290 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes. Thank you very much.
10291 THE CHAIRPERSON: I want to bring you back to -- I am glad that we got into the details of the regulatory role that we have to play, because, after all, we are a statutory body, right? We only have the powers that the Act provides to us.
10292 That is the system or the rule of law that we live in.
10293 I must say -- and it's not just you, but I am a bit surprised by some of the recommendations that we are getting this week from certain parties. You know, we live in a parliamentary democracy that finds its roots several hundred years ago, in fact, and we have a situation, and you may not like it personally, and others may not like it, but budgets are presented and voted on annually by our elected officials, and, as I say, it's an annual affair. Except for a few statutory programs, parliamentary budgets are an annual thing, and that goes back to the very origins of our parliamentary democracy.
10294 You raise some issues about the BBC Trust and the governance in the U.K. that they have around the BBC, all interesting ideas that have been studied by others, but my understanding is that the treatment of government issues is the exclusive prerogative of Cabinet and the Prime Minister, and he usually looks to his officials in the Privy Council Office for advice and not the CRTC.
10295 MR. MORRISON: Well, you would have a better perspective on that than most of us.
10296 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
10297 Frankly, getting back to our statutory mandate, if indeed the government wanted -- because we are arm's length with our roles and responsibilities -- if they wanted our view on the right governance model for the CBC, section 15 of the Broadcasting Act would allow them to ask our opinion on that.
10298 In light of all that, I am a bit surprised at some of your recommendations, that we would somehow go beyond what is our statutory body power and start giving advice on things that we haven't been asked an opinion on.
10299 MR. MORRISON: I recall a press report early in your incumbency, where you were quoted as saying something like: We don't want to give the government too much advice, and we expect them not to give us too much advice -- or something like that.
10300 Parliament is sovereign, and the duly elected Government of Canada makes fiscal decisions, but I think, if you see, as we see, a gap or a problem in the way the CBC is regulated and is accountable, or not sufficiently accountable, you have the right, maybe not the responsibility, to articulate that.
10301 I guess, maybe in our choice of words it was infelicitous, but if you share our view that the problem is serious enough, I think you can find a way to validate that in your decision without perhaps giving -- without you writing a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr. Chair.
10302 THE CHAIRPERSON: I take your point on that. In fact, the accountability of the CBC -- I mentioned this right at the beginning -- is something that we will turn our minds to, as we do for every broadcaster. We are not treating them any differently. There are reports -- and probably even more so in this case --
10303 MR. MORRISON: We want you to treat them differently.
10304 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, in the sense that our jurisdiction -- the scope of our jurisdiction is not any different for the CBC in terms of accountability and our ability to ask them for reports and so forth.
10305 And what I was going to add -- perhaps even more so, in view of the fact that the source of their funding is, obviously, public money, which is drawn from parliamentary appropriations, but also public money through contributions delivered through broadcast distribution undertakings.
10306 MR. MORRISON: Yes.
10307 THE CHAIRPERSON: There is a lot of public money there, I'm not disputing that. It's just that some of these other suggestions -- and you are not the only one, I am not singling you out --
10308 MR. MORRISON: I will take responsibility for all of the others.
10309 THE CHAIRPERSON: I am not taking issue with the fact that you may disagree with some choices that have been made in terms of the level of funding, but we have to execute our statutory authorities and obligations within a given set of facts, and I think the level of funding is something that we have to deal with.
10310 MR. MORRISON: I think that's -- isn't that paragraph 3 of my oral remarks this morning?
10311 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
10312 MR. MORRISON: We understand that completely, and our position with the Corporation is that, instead of becoming less and less of a public service broadcaster and more and more of a commercial broadcaster, which loses $1 billion a year, it is important that they make choices.
10313 In a big picture sense, were they to lose the rights to Hockey Night in Canada -- they say: We are not going to lose the rights to Hockey Night in Canada.
10314 I am sure they say that, but can we really believe that that would be the case?
10315 I mean, they could lose those rights, and should that happen, something fairly serious is going to happen to the whole model of the English television network. The amount of commercial revenue is going to drop way, way down, and certain sunk costs for selling it -- it is an appropriate time to think about their whole business model.
10316 You make questions about business models of all kinds of people who come before you, so I think we are in the ballpark in the comments we are making, and obviously you take or do not take advice, based on your understanding of your responsibilities.
10317 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, and we will be guided, in large part -- not exclusively, in large part, by section 3(1)(m), which actually defines what the Corporation's mandate is, and section 5, which talks about the regulatory obligations that we have, and 5(2), about our regulatory obligations, and that gets all put in the mix.
10318 MR. MORRISON: Some people memorize Shakespeare's sonnets. I memorize section 3(1)(m), but I don't want to have to prove it to you.
10319 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I am sure you do. Unfortunately, it's somewhat less poetic than Shakespeare's sonnets, but let's count the paragraphs rather than the ways.
10320 Thank you. Those are my questions. I believe that the Vice-Chair has a follow-up.
10321 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes. Now that you are in the mood for taking responsibility for one and all, let's put something else on those broad shoulders.
10322 The Ombudsman. Would you speak to us on the feeling amongst the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting as to the role of the Ombudsman, and if there is room for improvement?
10323 MR. MORRISON: The worst "No" that you got from President Lacroix was "No" to the independence of the Ombudsman, and I think you shouldn't let go of that question. That was a very important question.
10324 I am not going to finger any individuals, but there is too much of a clubby, inside the network -- many of the people who have been "ombudspeople" are put in a position to kind of judge their former colleagues, they are inside the loop, and that bothers us, and on one or two occasions we believe that they have actually been eased out through subtle means.
10325 We don't think that they are -- and I think there is an international association of ombudsmen. If they had some type of quality assurance system, we don't think that CBC would be at the top. I will put it that way.
10326 So I think you should find some way to make sure that when the Ombudsman says something and CBC management doesn't like it, that you hear about it. It should somehow come back to the regulator, because it is an accountability matter.
10327 I mean, I don't have to sell you on the value of an ombudsman. It's something that the Swedes introduced to this planet 50 years ago. It is widely understood. Even the city that I come from has an ombudsman.
10328 So we would like that ombudsman function to work better, and we encourage you not to let that -- don't take no for an answer, in other words.
10329 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Would you have a formula to propose as to the nomination of said ombudsman?
10330 MR. MORRISON: Well, my understanding -- and I am not an expert on this, but my understanding is that, generally speaking, the CEO puts together some type of committee, and invites candidates to apply, and there is an interview type of process, and my understanding is that the chair of that committee is usually not inside CBC/SRC.
10331 That's good, but it's pretty opaque to the public. You tend to hear about it after the person is appointed, and I stand by my clubbiness comment.
10332 So I think that you should push on that. That is not interference in some matter of scheduling or something like that, that's a fundamental accountability issue akin to what I said earlier about the difference between reporting and accountability.
10333 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Thank you, Mr. Morrison.
10334 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
10335 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Those are our questions.
10336 Thank you for appearing --
10337 MR. MORRISON: I appreciate the opportunity.
10338 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- and for bringing the views that you gathered through your networks. It is very much appreciated.
10339 The Commission, even though it sits at these hearings, also has other decisions to make, and we have a meeting over the lunch break, so that's why the lunch break will be a little longer.
10340 We will come back at 1:45 and continue with the next presenters.
10341 Maybe the Secretary could tell people now what likely will be the order, so that people can plan accordingly.
10342 THE SECRETARY: Yes. At 1:45 we will hear the presentation of MAC, on behalf of Access 2020 Group of Stakeholders.
10343 After that we will hear the presentation of Cathy Hunt, appearing by videoconference from Toronto.
10344 After that will be the Canadian Association of Film Distributors and Exporters.
10345 After that we will hear from Brenda Baker and Hans Schuetze, and that will be it.
10346 THE CHAIRPERSON: We are adjourned until 1:45. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1218
--- Upon resuming at 1345
10347 LE PRÉSIDENT : À l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.
10348 Madam Secretary, please.
10349 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
10350 We will now proceed with the presentation by MAC on behalf of Access 2020 Group of Stakeholders.
10351 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you have 15 minutes. Thank you.
10352 MS MILLIGAN: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
10353 My name is Beverley Milligan and I am the CEO of Media Access Canada, an organization created by the Access 2020 Group of accessibility organizations to provide subject matter expertise to support these organizations in developing strategies and form an opinion on issues related to accessible communications.
10354 Access 2020 represents a large and diverse group of accessibility organizations across the country working for 100 percent accessibility by 2020. Representatives of some of the Access 2020 organizations are here with me today.
10355 To my immediate right is Laurie Alphonse, Regional Manager for the Disabled Women's Network; to her right is Gary Saxon of the Canadian Council of the Blind.
10356 To my immediate left is Robert Corbeil, Executive Director of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association; to his left, Christy Smith-Worthylake, a member of the March of Dimes Board of Directors.
10357 In our second row, from left to right, are Tyler Moore of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians -- this left; Mary Frances Laughton, Senior Researcher for MAC; and Michel David, Regional Director for the Canadian Hearing Society.
10358 Commissioners, Commission staff and members of the audience, good afternoon.
10359 The Access 2020 Group recognizes the scope and complexity of the issues facing the Commission in renewing CBC's broadcast licence and that accessibility is just one of many issues to be considered.
10360 We are honoured therefore to appear before you today as one voice on behalf of the millions of Canadians with disabilities.
10361 MR. CORBEIL: CBC broadcasts the most captioned and described programming in the country. The quality of their captioning is excellent and CBC staff regularly meet with disability organizations to discuss challenges and listen to user priorities.
10362 Accessibility is front and centre at CBC in engineering, human resources and in programming decisions. CBC goes well beyond any accessibility condition of licence mandated by the Commission and has demonstrated by example that the resources exist today to provide 100 percent captioning and 50 percent described broadcast day. For these reasons, Access 2020 supports CBC's licence renewal unconditionally.
10363 MR. SAXON: The CBC at the beginning of a described program shows us either a logo which would interact with the vision, persons who are sighted, and a described -- that this program is described. This is very important because when I am trying to watch a program and I do not know it is described, I require the assistance of a family member.
10364 Sometimes description can be interfered with, but if we have been informed that the logo, verbal or auditory, is there, we know that the program is somewhat technically challenged, as we are, and therefore I require assistance of one of my family members. If we all want to watch the program together, then that's pretty decent, but if it is one that is described and my children wish to be elsewhere, they can leave the room and I don't have to bug them for the answers.
10365 The CRTC does not require that a program be listed as described when it comes on the television, but the CBC does that in 100 percent of all of its programs. This is vital for a person who is vision-challenged or a person who is totally blind like myself. It is important that I know whether or not I am going to need the assistance of others to help me get through a program I either want to watch for enjoyment or for information.
10366 MR. MOORE: The Commission's disability policy, CRTC 2009-430, requires broadcasters, commencing at licence renewal, to program a minimum of 4 hours per week of described programming, 2 hours of which are to be original to the programming service.
10367 A recent report commissioned by Access 2020 showed CBC provides descriptions for almost 50 percent of its broadcast day. That's over 12 times more than what's required. CBC provides the most accessible programming in Canadian broadcasting and likely the world. This makes them distinctly Canadian.
10368 MR. DAVID: Commissioners, I would like to take a moment to speak about the quality of accessible content. CBC has played a leading role in ensuring captioning quality. CBC has always worked with captioning agencies employing certified real-time captioners.
10369 CBC used their captioning expertise to ensure that the now mandated English captioning standard was, at a minimum, the same quality which they have adhered to on an ongoing basis. Today therefore, all broadcasters must provide CBC's level of captioning quality as a condition of their licence.
10370 CBC proved by example, not as a condition of licence, that quality captioning was and is possible. The fact that the current standard was based on CBC's quality is evidence of their outstanding performance.
10371 MS ALPHONSE: DAWN/RAFH Canada recently joined Access 2020 because we support the advancement of accessible media and as such we agree that CBC should be commended for the work they are doing to raise the bar for accessible broadcasting in Canada.
10372 Today, I would like to build on Michel's comments around accessible quality by pointing out that there is no mandated standard for descriptive video quality standards, but standards exist. Unlike CBC, most broadcasters are not considering quality DV when they contract with agencies to do the work.
10373 Given that the Commission has mandated captioning standards, we hope they will mandate description standards. And we thank the CBC for demonstrating you can have good quality descriptive video.
10374 MS SMITH-WORTHYLAKE: I think we can all agree that online technical advancement and content distribution is outpacing traditional broadcasting. BDUs are seeing reduced revenues in cable and satellite and broadcasters face reduced revenues due to competition from YouTube or Netflix and they have created online media departments as a result to ensure access to their content via the Web.
10375 As a person with quadriplegic cerebral palsy who requires alternative ways to access television programming, these new business models have been helpful because computer equipment accessibility is more widely available than accessible television equipment.
10376 But moving accessibility to the online world is a setback for those who require captioning or descriptions, because unlike the CBC who is providing online content that is accessible, the majority of Canadian broadcasters do not transcode the captioning portion of their programming for the Internet and those that do do not enable -- could you help me flip my page?
10377 MR. CORBEIL: Sure. Sorry.
10378 MS SMITH-WORTHYLAKE: Excuse me.
10379 Even when this does happen, their Websites do not allow the user to enable closed captioning or described video.
10380 We recognize that the Commission does not currently regulate the Internet. However, we feel that something must be done to ensure accessibility in this expanded BDU and broadcasting business model. Otherwise, Canadians with disabilities will once again be excluded from the social, political and economic discourse of this country, the majority of which is beginning to occur online.
10381 The FCC in the U.S. has recognized this as a key policy issue and Access 2020 hopes the Commission does so as well. Thank you.
10382 MS MILLIGAN: To conclude, Mr. Chairman, we would like to commend CBC for going well above and beyond the mandatory requirements currently required by the Commission and for demonstrating what is possible under section 3(1) of the Broadcasting Act today for accessible communications in Canadian broadcasting.
10383 CBC has proven that if a broadcaster wants to provide full access to all Canadians, it can. For this reason, full marks for accessibility. We support CBC's broadcast licence renewal and look forward to collaborating with them in future.
10384 Thank you. We welcome a discussion with you.
10385 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you very much.
10386 My name is Jean-Pierre Blais and I am chairing this panel and so the first thing I want to do is thank you for your presentation.
10387 I might take the occasion to present to you the other members of the panel.
10388 To my right are Tom Pentefountas, who is the Vice Chair of Broadcasting, and to his right is Madame Louise Poirier, who is a National Commissioner.
10389 To my left is Ms Elizabeth Duncan, who is the Regional Commissioner for the Atlantic and Nunavut; and to her left is Mr. Steve Simpson, who is the Regional Commissioner for British Columbia and the Yukon.
10390 I have asked them to identify themselves to you when they ask questions so you know who you're talking with up here.
10391 Right now I am going to ask Commissioner Simpson to ask you the first round of questions. Thank you.
10392 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
10393 Ms Milligan, welcome back. Welcome to all of your group to the hearing today. We always appreciate your presentations. They are thoughtful and they are helpful.
10394 As you know, we have always been passionate in the past about the issues involving accessibility and as the players within the CRTC change from time to time I can assure you that the passion has not to always explore ways to be able to better what is done on your behalf.
10395 A housekeeping issue, may I ask a question? The new document that I got, it looks to me as a revised version of your written submission; is that correct?
10396 I had prepped a lot of my notes based on a previous document I was given by staff which looks suspiciously like the new one. I have the "Taking a Leadership Role in Accessible Media and Building a Bridge to the Future." Is this a new document?
10397 MS MILLIGAN: So we used the same cover page for both.
10398 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Ah!
10399 MS MILLIGAN: One is the speech and one is the filing.
10400 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
10401 MS MILLIGAN: My apologies for the confusion.
10402 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I was having a little panic attack because I thought maybe I had either missed it or -- because in preparing my questions I was fearful that this was a document that I had missed.
10403 CBC, I don't see anyone from the Corporation here today, but I'm sure they must be pleased with the bouquets that are being thrown their way because they haven't been getting a lot of them, it seems, lately.
10404 I would like to start the questioning by asking you -- you have indicated that a good portion of what has been done by the Corporation hasn't been done through any regulatory arm-twisting, a lot of it has been the volition of the Corporation and its commitment, but do they internally, that you are aware of, have any kind of doctrine that they are following or is this the result of a management style that has brought them to this level of commitment or is there something more formal in the Corporation that has made them try and achieve the success they have obviously achieved?
10405 MS MILLIGAN: This is not something that I am aware of in terms of what their policy is with respect to accessibility. I have to assume certainly by the amount that they are doing that they are making every effort and turning any stone and looking under any stone if accessibility is available because of course you can get a lot of accessible programming broadcast that's previously or already described or captioned without having to do it yourself if you do make that effort.
10406 But no, it's an excellent question that I would love to know the answer to because I think it would be really very helpful and hopefully it could permeate policy for the other broadcasters.
10407 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Exactly to my point.
10408 With respect to the bar that you have indicated has been raised, the document you provided to this hearing, does it sufficiently document the fullness of what they are doing so that if we were to look at down the road with other hearings with other broadcasters raising that bar, does this written submission give us enough statistically to serve as evidence for what the CBC is doing completely or is there more information that we should or you should be providing to us that contrasts what's being done by the privates by our regulatory policy and what is being done by the CBC?
10409 MS MILLIGAN: There was a study done a number of years -- two years ago, so the evidence is a little stale for that reason, but there were -- broadcasters across the country were monitored and we do have quite a resource of statistics. If you can live with two-year-old statistics we would be happy to provide them to you.
10410 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Thank you.
10411 Just getting into the meat of the issue -- and please determine amongst yourselves who is most appropriate with your experience level to answer the questions. I will just sort of let Ms Milligan act as the net where I shoot the puck and then she can decide how she deflects it to other members of the group.
10412 In your written -- or, sorry, in your oral statement, on the first page you say that you are working for 100 percent accessibility by 2020. Is that statement encompassing all aspects of accessibility or it's simply -- I shouldn't say simply, but the industry that we regulate as a Commission? Are you talking broadcasting or as a whole?
10413 MS MILLIGAN: So the Access 2020 has come together under this one issue --
10414 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
10415 MS MILLIGAN: -- and that particular issue is media accessibility, that which the CRTC and the Commission controls, and as that changes or as the scope of that moves, much like we are moving over to online and having to face some of those issues, we would of course stay with that issue because it is critically important to us if the Commission weren't able to look at it, but it is this key issue of media access that we are all coming together on.
10416 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I should have refined my question somewhat. I was meaning to imply that the term "media" is so broad-based today and with the ever-growing nature of some corporations to be in so many different aspects of media, the telecommunications industry is finding itself in the media business by proxy --
10417 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
10418 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- and I was just trying to understand whether you had widened your scope to contemplate all aspects of media delivery or were we just talking broadcasting still?
10419 MS MILLIGAN: We are looking at all aspects of media delivery because -- for just that reason. So we would be looking at telecom issues because telecom issues deal with content as well today.
10420 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
10421 From a procedural standpoint, you have essentially said that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is doing a great job. It obviously is not doing the complete job that could be done in terms of 100 percent, that being the benchmark, but it is doing, from your testimony, sizeably better than anyone else.
10422 And given that the subject of this hearing is the licence renewal for CBC, I am going to ask you to tell this panel, who is charged with that goal, what exactly we are supposed to do with your recommendations given that the CBC has already met them.
10423 MS MILLIGAN: This is another benefit that we thank CBC for and it is wonderful. Please, we were actually talking about this at lunch, how wonderful it is to be here before you for the first time in a very, very long time, to be able to come in in support of an issue, of a broadcaster and to be able to do it in front of a new Chair and so it is a great introduction. We are not normally as positive or supportive of broadcast licence renewals.
10424 Another benefit to this is that because CBC has set the bar we are able to demonstrate -- or they themselves have provided the evidence, if you will -- to show you, the Commission that we can maybe look at 2009-430 and get those mandatory hours for description up, get some logos to identify descriptions and things of this nature.
10425 So thank you to CBC for allowing us to bring up all these things that they are doing within this context so that you are now aware of it and that we are able to plant that seed.
10426 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So the message really is to the panel that this is what is achievable by a broadcaster in today's technological environment?
10427 MS MILLIGAN: And economic.
10428 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And given my previous question about the standards, documentation of the standards that they are meeting, we could take it under advisement that this is achievable in future decisions if we were to take this information?
10429 MS MILLIGAN: That's right.
10430 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
10431 Tyler Moore had said in the oral submission just a minute ago that CBC is providing descriptions for almost 50 percent of its broadcast day. Are they doing this entirely internally or are they using external services or a combination of both?
10432 MS MILLIGAN: They are doing both. Certainly, a lot of American programming or any programming in prime time is captioned. If a program is CMF-funded it's going to -- there is funding there for description if you ask for it.
10433 They have really figured out how to get things described in-house by finding the resources there but also asking the extra question or putting that extra clause in a contract of a licence agreement and things like that. So they have it figured out to maximize how they can then get those hours up. They care.
10434 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: In a previous hearing you and I talked about the wisdom and the complexity as well of getting program producers to try and do more described video at point of production rather than leaving it up to the broadcaster to do.
10435 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
10436 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I'm assuming that the needle hasn't moved much in that regard, or has it, because what I'm leading up to is if CBC is doing 50 percent, what is the anomaly here? Is it because more program producers are producing described video or that CBC is buying more, for sake of argument, Canadian content where they can stipulate or influence the creation of described video in that content?
10437 MS MILLIGAN: Again, that is a very excellent question that I would love to hear the CBC answer, because again it could impact and permeate future policy. It is an operations question really that has to do with accessible policy within the broadcast environment.
10438 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Getting into your recommendations -- I'm just going to scoot to my other document here -- in terms of future recommendations for conditions of licence, recommendation one, which was to identify available service at the beginning of a program, now, this is not happening because of a regulatory shortfall in your mind? It's something that is easily doable by instruction from us as a condition of licence?
10439 MS MILLIGAN: Yes. When the decision came out at the last group licence renewal everybody had assumed that the Commission would require that, that at the beginning of each program that the program be identified as described and that a logo appear. As it turned out, it didn't. It was, you know, best efforts, so it's for that reason not happening.
10440 I am going to ask Gary to talk a little bit more about the impact of that.
10441 So no, it's -- what we tried to demonstrate in this presentation is first what could be done but also what isn't being done and it's just only what is being mandated and for the most part it is only what's mandated that is being done and therefore that logo is not appearing in the audio, preface to the program is not appearing.
10442 So yes. I mean I think I have answered. Have I answered?
10443 I don't know if, Gary, you want to talk a little bit more about that?
10444 MR. SAXON: If I may.
10445 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Sure.
10446 MR. SAXON: Am I there?
10447 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes, you are.
10448 MR. SAXON: Yes, thank you. Sorry about that.
10449 If I may, basically what happens is, and you can all visualize this, as your children are young they are hanging to you like glue and they are more than willing to ask and answer any question that you have of them. As they age that becomes a little more difficult because their interests change.
10450 There are, however, times when there is something that I need or, as I indicated earlier, wish to enjoy that comes through the television. If the television is described then I am able to watch the program without the assistance of any other family member. If, on the other hand, it is not described I really rely on someone else.
10451 Because if you think of going into an interview, you first and foremost are supposed to make an impression and that impression is visual. I can't do that. I am not able to get an impression through the visual format that everybody else can who is sighted. Therefore I rely upon description, that description being auditory.
10452 Initially, my family, my friends would describe to me what was happening and that really enhanced my knowledge of what was going on around me. Now, with the inception of described video and its continuance to increase I am able to pursue much more information without having to take up the time -- and that is definitely how my children see it -- of them and therefore it is vital that (a) I be aware that it is a described program and I do not require their assistance and (b) many times my sighted friends, and sometimes even my family, can appreciate that they have missed something that they saw only with their eyes, but when it is also available to another sense, their hearing, they receive enhanced input.
10453 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I take your point that a logo coming on the screen is not too helpful for you.
10454 MR. SAXON: For me it is not, but for when the kids have the television muted and listening to their music, when they see that they know they better go get me.
10455 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Let me ask you a question that your experience would be very helpful in. So in terms of the identifier, first of all -- I have about three or four questions on this so we can bounce back and forth.
10456 The first question is: The most helpful utility for you in terms of notification would be an audiovisual device of some kind; is that correct? Sorry, part two of this, or is it the experience of a household who has a blind person within the household that the described audio service is on all the time to the point where an audio cue would be heard?
10457 I'm trying to determine whether or not, you know, the described service is turned on and off in a household.
10458 MR. SAXON: It depends on the room.
10459 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.
10460 MR. SAXON: In that we are a society whereby everybody has a television almost or access to that, either it be the Internet or their telephone or whatever, the TVs that I watch, which are either in the family room or in my office area, do have the descriptive on full-time. The others will be turned on only if I want to be there in that room and they want to watch the program with me.
10461 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Right.
10462 MR. SAXON: They have the choice. In fact, some of them find it very disruptive because they are doing three or four things and now they have two to worry about, not just the picture but the speech over. That interferes with their texting and their music and whatever else they are doing at the time.
10463 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I can't help but insert an anecdote. I was reading -- there's a television column in the Vancouver Sun and someone had written into the TV column that why had "Murdoch Mysteries" changed from their standard format to the extent that they now have somebody telling the storyline before it happens and why are they doing this because it is ruining her enjoyment of the program. Then he had to come back and say, well, I'm very sorry, but you must have had the described audio turned on, and I couldn't help but enjoy the irony.
10464 COMMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So essentially, assuming that a lot of households are not multiple set households, the kind of alert utility that would be suitable would be an audiovisual cue of some kind that perhaps goes on two or three times during the program?
10465 MR. SAXON: Yes. If I might, the video clue, if the DVD or if the SAP, whatever you wish to call it, the description is not on, would indicate to the persons within the room that it is available and if they wanted me to enjoy the program as much as they are and without interfering with them, we can turn that on. As soon as I can leave the room, or as soon as I do leave the room, they would more than likely turn it off.
10466 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Turn it off, yes. Yes, I could well imagine.
10467 MR. SAXON: It's a simple stroke, and I don't know about you, but even with the VCR when it came out 20 years ago I still get my kid to program it.
10468 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Sir, I have no idea. I am good at a lot of things but I look at --
10469 MR. SAXON: Absolutely.
10470 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- a set-top box controller and I wilt, I really do.
10471 MS MILLIGAN: So I guess the point, and getting back to your original question, is that what CBC has done is they have demonstrated that it can be done by doing it and we do know that most other broadcasters are not doing it, so it leads us to ask ourselves why.
10472 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: That was going to be my next question. They are not doing it within the threshold of the four mandated hours, you mean or --
10473 MS MILLIGAN: That's right.
10474 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Oh, gosh! That's not good.
10475 You have some relationship with all the broadcasters, I mean you are a part of the industry. Have you approached them on this directly and is it an oversight, is it a technical problem? Have you discussed it with them?
10476 MS MILLIGAN: Well, I have. Again, it varies from broadcaster to broadcaster. I think we all agree each broadcaster has a different culture and a different approach to doing things.
10477 I won't identify the broadcaster that I talked to but the conversation was interesting in that they indicated some frustration and they were frustrated because I was talking to the people that were responsible for getting this stuff on air and they were waiting for that decision, it didn't come, so management said, don't have to do it, don't do it, and so that everything stopped and in fact they didn't do it.
10478 So from that you can extrapolate that maybe it's the senior management, it's just a policy issue, but, you know, the bottom line is that CBC is doing it, it can be done.
10479 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes. Well, I'm just, again, trying to separate out whether or not they are fulfilling their existing obligation versus -- what button do we want to push here --
10480 MS MILLIGAN: Right.
10481 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- one that's in an area where they're not fulfilling regulatory policy or one where it is your expectation.
10482 MS MILLIGAN: Right.
10483 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I'm just trying to understand.
10484 MS MILLIGAN: I think it's important just to point out that every program is identified as closed-captioned. Now we are at 100 percent broadcast day for closed captioning.
10485 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes
10486 MS MILLIGAN: 2009-430 is pushing that through to the whole day and we are seeing more and more of the non-broadcaster day captioned. Most are almost at 100 percent, but every single program is identified as closed-captioned for the hearing impaired at the beginning, and so it's interesting because it is just a matter of routine.
10487 So here we have broadcasters identifying what 100 percent of the time is captioned and then we have broadcasters when it's occasionally described not identifying it at all. So it's just, you know, an operational issue.
10488 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes, I can well imagine. It has been my experience when I have asked the question during station tours that a lot of the time because the way the industry is always trying to find more efficiency, master controls are up in one place serving six or seven markets --
10489 MS MILLIGAN: Right.
10490 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- and it can become an operator error as opposed to a lack of commitment by the broadcaster. But still, it doesn't happen. It goes right back to the issue we always talk about, which is why isn't this stuff embedded in the content in the first place. Yes, the great immutable question, isn't it?
10491 On your second recommendation it's very broadly based and ambitious, but I want to dig into what you know that you can tell us about what our expectation should be with respect to cross-platform.
10492 You know, we're hearing about TV everywhere and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that one of the nice benefits of content being delivered on a smaller platform or personalized platform is that it starts to take away some of the difficulties of a whole family sitting down to watch a television show.
10493 You can customize the utility of the delivery system to the needs of -- to the disabilities of the viewer much more, but I'm curious as to whether you think that the expectations you have now of television as it's delivered through a television and a set-top box and all the stuff you fought for is movable to the new platforms based on what you have seen.
10494 I think of an iPad or something like that where that content is under the control -- the relationship that the person has with their broadcaster, which might be a vertically integrated company like Bell for example or Shaw, would put that new device in your hands because you have your Internet relationship with them and therefore the commitment they have corporately, which is regulated, doesn't move over to the broadband side of the equation, but that's not to say that it shouldn't, but my question is can it?
10495 MS MILLIGAN: So, in short, yes, but to expand on that, it's going to take time. There are technical challenges.
10496 What is not in scope of the Commission of course is any user interface like an iPad or anything like that and that is a whole other big -- you know, we went through that with the set-top boxes, we went through that with the television set when we had closed-caption decoders on top of television sets and we had a BDU problem and we had, you know, we had all kinds of things. So this is the new and very large and very challenging environment and landscape that we are going to have to walk through.
10497 So what can the Commission do? What is the opportunity? Well, the opportunity is to follow the content and so the content that the broadcaster has and sends out over the traditional or regulated distribution systems, we see that it's captioned, we see that it's described and so on and so forth.
10498 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So what I hear you saying is that there's technological equivalency but not necessarily regulatory equivalency?
10499 MS MILLIGAN: Right.
10500 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And you would like to fix that obviously?
10501 MS MILLIGAN: Yes. But talking about the content, now what's happening with the content is they're transcoding it. Like they're transcoding it or they're taking that content and they're mushing it all together and making it okay for the Web, right. So it's called transcoding and they transcode it for films or for whatever distribution platform. They have to change it in some way. At that point they are stripping the content. At that point they're stripping the captioning.
10502 BDUs stripped captioning, you know, in the early -- in the late nineties and that was a couple of years and we had to work that through and we got it fixed.
10503 So all of these things, as long as we're aware of them, as long as we put them front and centre as key priorities will get fixed, but they do have to get fixed.
10504 Some of them are in the control of the broadcaster, some of them are not, especially in the area of HD and descriptive video. But captioning is something that can be controlled and should be focused on.
10505 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: That's interesting. So just to clarify, if a piece of content is equipped with accessibility attributes --
10506 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
10507 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- it's therefore your opinion that it is deployable on different mediums other than television and so it's not a technical hurdle or a financial hurdle, it is just a question of --
10508 MS MILLIGAN: Making sure you buy the right software to transcode or making sure you buy the right hardware. When you are -- and maybe asking the question, does this transcode with the captions attached, you know. It's these little things that end up costing a lot of money.
10509 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes, okay.
10510 Back to the oral stuff -- you have a lot of material here.
10511 Christy Smith-Worthylake had said in her testimony and I just want clarification here:
"BDUs are seeing reduced revenue in cable and satellite."
10512 Where do you get that from?
10513 MS MILLIGAN: I actually put that little bit in, so if it's all right with you, Christy, I will --
10514 MS SMITH-WORTHYLAKE: Yes.
10515 MS MILLIGAN: We hear that over and over again at public hearings, at presentations when a broadcaster certainly comes before the Commission. I'm sure that we could find hundreds of statements to that effect, that the online world is killing our business plan, Netflix is killing us, things of this nature.
10516 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: You are taking them at their word?
10517 MS MILLIGAN: I'm taking them at their word, yes.
10518 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. And you go on to say that broadcasters are facing reduced revenues due to competitions from OTTs. I'm paraphrasing there, but YouTube and Netflix.
10519 So again, we looked into that a year and a bit ago and really didn't find a lot of heavy-duty evidence to show that OTT was severely impacting the revenues in broadcasting. So do you know something we don't?
10520 MS MILLIGAN: No, I think it just strengthens our argument.
10521 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Just taking them at their word.
10522 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
10523 And the last part I would like clarification on, because this is such a loaded -- great payload, I guess I should have said. I will go back and read it from its beginning because it's the last part now I want to ask a question on, which is:
"BDUs are seeing reduced revenue in cable and satellite. Broadcasters face reduced revenues due to competition from YouTube or Netflix and have created online media departments to ensure access to their content via the Web."
10524 So that statement is modifying the fact that YouTube and Netflix have these departments now? Who has online departments to ensure access to content?
10525 MS MILLIGAN: So what we did was we went to every broadcaster, every brand, every programmer, and they have a Website and they have content available there and they have a schedule and you can play programming that has broadcasted previously and they have departments that --
10526 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So it's the broadcaster who has the departments, because it sounded like it was the Netflix and YouTube and I was quite surprised.
10527 MS MILLIGAN: Sorry, that was a semantic error.
10528 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: No, that's all right. I'm having a moment, pardon me.
10529 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: On quality of -- everyone here has shared quality of closed captioning. You know, when I am in the gym I'm still seeing words that I didn't know exist when it comes across. It looks like a really bad Scrabble hand a lot of the time.
10530 But I would like you to help me understand. In your paragraph 9 you seem to be inferring that a portion of the quality control is not necessarily the garbage in/garbage out problem of the operator error but that it might be due to transmission errors from the individual who is on the keyboard to the broadcaster. I'm just trying to understand whether there's a technical glitch that causes errors as well as poor operator error.
10531 MS MILLIGAN: So again -- and I can provide this information to you -- we looked at the quality issue from a technical or distribution in the same study two years ago.
10532 Not a whole lot is the cause of technical problems. I think if you have an audio coupler in the broadcast facility you're fine. For live captioning that's the best you can do.
10533 Most of the quality issues, certainly in captioning, in live captioning, which of course is the majority of programming, and the biggest quality issue for deaf and hard of hearing Canadians is the actual human interface, the real-time captioner, and so what we did was we dug down a little bit to see what was reasonable, what could be done and what was accessible.
10534 And so we went to the school in the U.S., it's in Rochester, that in fact certifies real-time captioners, and if you use a certified real-time captioners, you can't be a certified real-time captioner unless you hit 96 percent. So 96 percent, you know --
10535 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: That's still the bar?
10536 MS MILLIGAN: There you go, there's the bar.
10537 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I found a line that said and while over-the-air television stations must caption all of their programs, improper captioning, errors in captions, and then second in the list was garbled transmission of captions. So it was so high up the list I was wondering if it was more of a problem than we talked about.
10538 MS MILLIGAN: You're going to have garbling. You're going to see "Israel" for "is real." You know, all of these things are going to occur, but as long as you -- you know, you have that audio coupler and you have a certified real-time captioner, then you're doing your best and you're adhering to the standards.
10539 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Shaw yesterday in their testimony also commended CBC for their accessibility commitment and their actual accomplishment, so much so that they had actually suggested that we make sure that we enshrine all existing conditions that they are presently -- the obligations that they are under to make sure that they continue.
10540 So I can only assume that that, by way of proxy, is some kind of a testament to their commitment as well, because they obviously felt accessibility was important. So it seems you're winning broadcasters over slowly.
10541 MS MILLIGAN: Well, let's certainly hope so and we will keep trying, though I'm not -- this study wouldn't necessarily agree with that sort of association between Shaw and CBC. Shaw has a little bit to go in that area but it's great, you know, that they even mentioned it and that they were aware of it. So that's great.
10542 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But a lot of it, too, is the regulatory obligation or the expectation.
10543 I would like to close with just one final question. Back to the Access 2020 and 100 percent being benchmarked. To use the analogy I used the other day on the long road from Halifax to Vancouver, where are you at in that journey, either percentagewise or distance wise? How close are you to the 100 percent, 10 percent, 20?
10544 MS MILLIGAN: Well, in regulated industries we are there at captioning at 100 percent and we are 50 percent of the way in descriptive video if in fact we all agree that 50 percent can be done and that future policy is developed around that. CBC has proven that 50 percent can be done, so hopefully that is where we are going and we have a few years to figure out the rest of that 50 percent.
10545 What we do know from captioning and the lessons that we learned from captioning is that you have to have a business plan, you have to make it a priority and that we have to decrease -- we have to increase the volume to decrease cost.
10546 So, you know, bulk buys, working together, collaborating, broadcasters collaborating or working through an agency, like which is what happened with captioning for bulk buys, things of this nature. We have to get the price down for description, we have to get the volume increased. And, go figure, you increase the volume, the price comes down.
10547 So that is going to be key over the next five years and so everybody can help in that way. Fifty percent as a DV, you know, raising that bar is going to actually get the price down, it is going to be better for everyone.
10548 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, I'm curious, we are going to have another opportunity to talk to CBC as the hearing winds down at the end of next week and I will make a point of asking them if they would like to share what their commitment is from a production relationship standpoint, what the anomalies are that are allowing them to drive their percentage of DV as high as --
10549 MS MILLIGAN: I will be listening for that.
10550 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.
10551 Those are my questions, sir.
10552 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Commissioner Simpson.
10553 I believe Commissioner Poirier will have questions for you.
10554 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes. Hello, everybody. I'm Louise Poirier, a National Commissioner, and I just have two questions.
10555 The first one is related to audio description and maybe Mr. Saxon would be the one who could answer the question because audio description is mostly used during news programming and I was wondering if you are satisfied with that service on the CBC.
10556 MR. SAXON: In all honesty, I'm never satisfied. I believe there is always a further goal to be attained.
10557 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
10558 MR. SAXON: I'll tell you, it's really nice to be able to get that captioning or that description. Yes, it far enhances the information that I can receive.
10559 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: But the quality isn't satisfying or what?
10560 MR. SAXON: I would say I'm quite happy with it. Again, there's always room for improvement, but that's what life is all about. Everything that we do, all the things that are happening technologically, they change, because by the time I get home tomorrow there will be a huge change in what happened and what it was like when I left home on Tuesday.
10561 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. Well, the second issue is related to the new technologies, okay. You say that:
"The majority of Canadian broadcasters do not transcode the captioning portion of their programming for the Internet."
10562 I took an hour with some staff at the CRTC to go on Player, on YouTube related to CBC, and I was surprised to see there was some closed captioning on most of the CBC programming.
10563 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
10564 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: So I was wondering, are you happy with that? Do we need to push a little bit further the quality, the number of programming, because naturally we don't regulate Internet, but we can make a wish list, so I wonder what you are expecting from us.
10565 MS MILLIGAN: What we would like to see as a policy is that if a program is broadcast over the air, captioned or described, that that same program must be -- if made available online that it be captioned or described. It has already been done, so then it becomes an operational issue and the timeframe around that, so, you know, a reasonable enough time so that they can get it figured out and work it through.
10566 But, you know, right now there's nothing in that area and so CBC is in fact the only broadcaster that is providing any online captioning. Right now it's long-form programming. They have a plan to do more captioning, it is certainly not 100 percent, but it is -- at least they are showing that it can be done and they do have plans to do more in the future.
10567 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: And whoever you are talking about, who should be responsible for paying for the accessibility?
10568 MS MILLIGAN: Well, if it's already captioned or described it's just a process of feeding it through, you know, the transcoder that is going to transcode it with the captions and the DV attached to it. So it's not costing anything, it's just make sure you buy the right piece of equipment or you ask the right questions, or if you are in the design phase just keep it front and centre.
10569 You know, it's always after the build, it's always after the buy that you go, oh, it strips the captions. This is the problem because the buys are not cheap.
10570 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. It's a way of thinking --
10571 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
10572 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: -- that needs to be there?
10573 MS MILLIGAN: And how do you ingrain that way of thinking? You develop some policy around it, saying if you can do it through this distribution infrastructure, we want you to do it through this distribution infrastructure too because it exists.
10574 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
10575 MS MILLIGAN: So inasmuch as you can control it.
10576 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: You don't represent French organizations -- oh, my goodness, I'm tired -- organizations?
10577 MS MILLIGAN: We do and we are reaching out more and more to all organizations --
10578 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
10579 MS MILLIGAN: -- and very much so. And many of these national organizations that are sitting at the table are bilingual, also represent the French and English --
10580 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay.
10581 MS MILLIGAN: -- and are bilingual, but we are reaching out more and more and communicate almost daily with organizations --
10582 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Then you must be aware that on TOU.TV there is no closed captioning done yet. There is a difference between the two markets.
10583 MS MILLIGAN: Huge.
10584 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Do you have a comment on this?
10585 MS MILLIGAN: I do, but I'm going to ask if anybody else --
10586 CONSEILLER POIRIER : Monsieur Corbeil, vous pouvez répondre en français, hein, aussi.
10587 M. CORBEIL : Vous avez raison que sur TOU.TV, ce n'est pas là, puis on voit vraiment une tendance à ce que le marché s'en va de plus en plus vers ce nouveau médium qui est le Web, les sites Web, et, comme Bev disait, c'est sûr que si c'est déjà fait, pourquoi ça ne se retrouve pas? À quelque part, c'est une question de technologie. Il n'y a pas un arrimage parfait qui se fait, puis ça, il faut que ça change. Alors, c'est effectivement vrai qu'en français, c'est... tout cet aspect-là est à bâtir, est à faire.
10588 Je n'ai pas personnellement regardé à Radio-Canada, mais Radio-Canada aussi a son site Web, a son... a fait un nombre d'initiatives importantes en français. On voit qu'il y a un déplacement puis il y a une grande promotion qui se fait au niveau de Radio-Canada, maintenant utiliser télévision, radio et Web, et on voit un déplacement de plus en plus de certaines émissions vers le site Web francophone, mais il y a encore, et je dirais, il y a beaucoup plus de travail à faire au niveau francophone qu'anglophone.
10589 Alors, je pense que, dans un premier temps, il y a une mobilisation qui se fait du côté anglophone. Je pense que c'est naturel parce que la majorité des associations ici présentes et celles qu'on représente sont nationales, et il y a peut-être un volet anglophone qui est plus... À quelque part, c'est qu'on ne peut pas attaquer tous les marchés, ça fait qu'on va d'abord et avant tout défendre le marché anglophone, mais en espérant, évidemment, que le rebond se fasse du côté francophone.
10590 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Et est-ce que vous êtes satisfait, en général, en français? Parce que je n'étais pas certaine si vous faisiez référence toujours à CBC ou à la SRC aussi dans votre document. Alors, j'aimerais juste que vous me confirmiez que le degré de satisfaction, qui semble élevé pour la CBC concernant la vidéo description et tout l'ensemble des autres services d'accessibilité, est aussi élevé pour la SRC qu'il l'est pour la CBC.
10591 MS MILLIGAN: If I may?
10592 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
10593 MS MILLIGAN: So it's true that we did just only point to CBC English and that's because this study was done for English broadcasting and so that was where we had the statistics and could be sure of things and provide the necessary evidence.
10594 Anecdotally, I can tell you that the feedback that I have gotten is that, you know, full marks for Radio-Canada -- or CBC. There has been, you know, technical issues, there have been challenges, the analog to digital.
10595 Personally, I have been tremendously impressed by the engineers over at Radio-Canada. They are taking a leadership role in figuring out HD and DV and trying to come up with some national and international policies around where it is going to be sourced and things of this nature. So they are very -- they are really into the meat of it and, you know, it seems to me as a policy it is always front and centre for them, and that is not just at CBC, it is in Montreal, it seems to be everywhere.
10596 But I don't have any empirical evidence like we do in CBC English because this same study was not done for French broadcasting. We would love to do it, but it just -- you know, CTV-CHUM tangible benefits financed it and it was done just for English broadcasters.
10597 What I can tell you about French captioning is that it's a larger language, so they have had some challenges, especially in live captioning, so that what we see in the mandatory standards in English, the quality is 96 percent error rate. In French it is 85 percent error rate.
10598 The reason for this is that a lot of the live captioning is done using voice recognition and voice recognition isn't there yet. And the reason why they are doing it in voice recognition is because there's not a lot of French real-time captioners that have that same quality.
10599 So speaker-dependent voice recognition would of course be much better, that would go up, but there is a plan and, you know, it is being worked on and they're doing the best that they can do and that they got it to voice recognition and got a solution and they're working on it.
10600 Again, that's great. And it's not the fault by any means of Radio-Canada that it's 85 percent, it just is what it is. There are some more technical challenges. So again, anecdotally full marks, but we can't say for sure.
10602 MR. CORBEIL: You're right.
10603 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. Thank you very much. We should ask them to aim for equity for the two official languages --
10604 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
10605 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: -- on both of their services?
10606 MR. CORBEIL: That's for sure.
10607 MS MILLIGAN: Absolutely.
10608 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: On traditional TV and as an expectation on Internet?
10609 MR. CORBEIL: Yes. You're right.
10610 MS MILLIGAN: Yes. I think because there is so much to navigate between now and whenever we get things figured out --
10611 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
10612 MS MILLIGAN: -- in terms of technology development and where content can find itself.
10613 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes. And we have to think the licence term will be five years, so we better see -- have a better view of the future right away. Thank you very much.
10614 MS MILLIGAN: You're welcome.
10615 MR. CORBEIL: Exactly. Thank you.
10616 THE CHAIRPERSON: The Vice Chair will have a question for you.
10617 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Hi, how are you? Great, good afternoon. Tom Pentefountas, Vice Chair.
10618 We talked about the Web and the programming that is online and the CBC. I gather from your statement that the private broadcasters do not offer closed captioning on their webcasts?
10619 MS MILLIGAN: So the last time that we checked, which was in this study, the answer is no, they are not. There was a recent survey done and, no, only CBC in this country is doing it.
10620 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And can I ask --
10621 MS MILLIGAN: And possibly Radio-Canada.
10622 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Thank you.
10623 A lot of the programming that is available on the Canadian websites are shows that are de provenance, originally from the U.S. On the U.S. sites, is that same programming offered with closed captioning on the Web, would you know?
10624 MS MILLIGAN: You know, I don't know the answer to that, we didn't check, but what I can tell you is that as of the 30th of September the FCC requires it to be so, of this year.
10625 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Of this year, yes. I saw that in your notes, yes. Okay. Thank you.
10626 And what's interesting about that is that -- and we mentioned this yesterday -- is that given that Canadian broadcasters are buying rights to these shows, these popular American shows, they are not available to us as Canadians on the Web on the American sites. The only way by which we can see them is on the Canadian network sites. So that is doubly disturbing.
10627 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
10628 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Thank you very much.
10629 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you very much for participating in this hearing, bringing forward some really important citizenship issues from our perspective, not only for the renewal here in front of us but for the broader broadcasting system. Very useful. Thank you for making yourselves available and answering all our questions.
10630 We will take a short three-minute suspension so we can have time to switch out the panels. Thank you very much.
10631 MS MILLIGAN: Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1447
--- Upon resuming at 1450
10632 LE PRÉSIDENT : À l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.
10633 Ms Hunt, I see you on our screen in Toronto. I hope you hear us well here in Gatineau. So why don't you --
10634 MS HUNT: Oops.
10635 THE CHAIRPERSON: So why don't you go ahead and make your presentation then. We will have some questions for you afterwards.
10636 I believe you are on mute, so we are not hearing you.
10637 MS HUNT: How is that?
10638 THE CHAIRPERSON: Perfect!
10639 MS HUNT: Can you hear me now?
10640 THE CHAIRPERSON: Absolutely.
10641 MS HUNT: Okay. Here we go.
10642 Good afternoon. My name is Cathy Hunt and I would like to thank you all for inviting me to speak today. I am a parent, a visual artist and a grateful Canadian who was raised listening to and watching the CBC. I am standing before you -- or sitting here actually before you today because I have grave concerns about the future of public broadcasting in this country.
10643 I feel we are at a critical juncture in our maturing as a nation. We are fortunate that people from all over the world continue to choose to become Canadian citizens. This diversity is a strength that has made us a role model to the world. We must continue to maintain a discourse that allows us to reflect on who we were, who we are and who we are becoming.
10644 The CBC is uniquely situated to do this and as laid out in the mandate in the Broadcasting Act it is the CBC's mission to maintain this dialogue. However, their ability to do so is literally in jeopardy.
10645 Rather than demanding reliable and adequate funding from the federal government, the CBC has chosen to propose continually escalating commercial approaches to finance its operations. It is requesting the amendments before you today as a result. The CBC has a special responsibility to present informative, enlightening and entertaining Canadian content and the Commission should not allow them to water down their conditions of licence.
10646 The CBC is putting forward the same proposal for Canadian content as in 1999, although I understand they did a better job in 2000 when it broadcast Canadian content during 27 out of 28 primetime hours.
10647 Consequently, I feel that the Commission should urge the CBC to be less reliant on American game shows and set the primetime Canadian content requirement at a level equal to their performance in 2000.
10648 Allowing continued reductions to Canadian content will in time make the CBC appear less distinct from commercial networks. The CBC must remain distinct from private broadcasters. Otherwise, I am concerned that their merit of public funding could be openly questioned.
10649 I am concerned about the CBC's proposed cuts to regional and local broadcasting. As someone who lives in Toronto my needs are relatively well served, but I feel less well served when it comes to knowing what is going on in the rest of the country.
10650 Saskatoon, my mother's hometown, for example, is currently experiencing a population boom and something of a cultural renaissance. If Canadians are to know that Saskatchewan is more than canola fields we need local stations producing content about what's happening in that region. Reflected back to both local and national viewers, Saskatoon's success will be reinforced and self-fulfilling.
10651 I have been fortunate in my lifetime to have travelled the breadth of this magnificent country. Many Canadians have not or cannot. Our public broadcaster connects us. Consequently, the Commission should reject the proposed conditions of licence that would reduce CBC's local broadcasting obligations.
10652 The Commission should also reject CBC's proposal for unlimited national ads on Radio 2. Granting this request would be a disaster for Radio 2 audiences and would make it impossible to reject any further requests to place ads on Radio One.
10653 I do not support allowing the CBC to reduce children and youth's programming. This could occur if the broadcasting hours delineated in its expiring licence were removed. This should be rejected by the Commission, as should the CBC's request for permission to insert advertising in programming for kids. It is imperative that children be able to enjoy a rare period where they are not being approached as consumers.
10654 Finally, I would like to address the transition to digital. We are at a crossroads driven by technology that is moving so quickly that I feel it threatens to leave some Canadians behind. There is a risk that seniors, those on low incomes and other vulnerable groups will lose access to information that is vital to their health and to the health of our democracy and the cohesiveness of our society.
10655 The CBC has a responsibility to address such issues related to equity. They cannot possibly address them alone, indeed the CRTC has a role to play, but I think that the CBC needs to show leadership in making sure that equity and compassion are objectives of a successful digital transition.
10656 In closing, I would like to thank Monsieur Blais' openness to the views of all the interveners and I would like to thank the CRTC for listening and offering me the opportunity to share my views today.
10657 Thank you and merci beaucoup.
10658 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms Hunt. It is the view of all the Commissioners to be open to the views of Canadians, not just mine, but I understand the spirit in which you made that comment.
10659 Madame Poirier will have some questions for you.
10660 MS HUNT: Okay.
10661 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Hello. But I feel Mr. Blais is too humble, we need leadership too, you know.
10662 MS HUNT: Yes.
10663 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Thank you very much for coming to our office in Toronto.
10664 MS HUNT: You're welcome.
10665 COMMISSIONER Poirier: I hear you have a French accent, too. Do you speak French, too?
10666 MME HUNT : Oui, je parle français, mais je suis une anglophone.
10667 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes, okay. Well, that's wonderful.
10668 You addressed all of the major issues in your document and I really enjoyed reading your document, but it was -- it was sent in October and I was wondering, okay, let's address the first issue, American game shows.
10669 MS HUNT: Yes.
10670 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: We heard about the CEO of the CRTC saying to us that there is less and less American programming on the schedule of CBC and I have looked at it, there isn't much.
10671 I can see "Coronation Street" every night at 7:30; "Titanic Blood," which is not American, it is an international production; and then you have also "Disney" on Sundays and some movies. Well, most of the movies are American.
10672 So I wonder, are you satisfied with the move that was taken by the CBC for the last year and year and a half or you want even less American programming than what is being scheduled presently?
10673 MS HUNT: Well, "Coronation Street" isn't American programming, but I think my concern is the inroads that I was seeing with "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune." They were in specifically what I was addressing in that particular instance. That was my concern, that there was a beginning of a progression that concerns me because I feel that that kind of programming is more than adequately represented on the private broadcasters. So that's the kind of thing that I don't see a need to engage in.
10674 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: But are you satisfied with the move that was taken this year on the schedule? Do you see the difference on the screen now? You don't have that kind of game programs coming from the United States anymore on the schedule. So I wonder, do you see the difference? Do you feel it's enough?
10675 MS HUNT: I guess what I would say is that I see the difference and I just -- I guess I'm just wanting to see that that is being held, that is being held at bay essentially so that it is maintained and it doesn't regress.
10676 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. So they are moving in the right direction, but you don't want them to stop, you want them to keep on going in that direction and providing Canadians with Canadian content?
10677 MS HUNT: That is correct.
10678 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay.
10679 MS HUNT: Yes. I would agree with that, yes.
10680 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay.
10681 Let's talk about children's programming, okay. After a day of discussion with the CBC, we finally got some kind of a proposal for a new condition of licence and I wonder if it satisfies you. I will read the sentence, okay:
"The licensee shall broadcast at least 15 hours per week of Canadian programming aimed at children under 12 years old."
10682 I know it is very technical, but I would love to hear what is your reaction to that commitment?
10683 MS HUNT: So 15 hours --
10684 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
10685 MS HUNT: -- of children's programming --
10686 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
10687 MS HUNT: -- for children under 12 per week.
10688 And I have to ask again, what is the current? Where are we at currently? Is it 17 or 21?
10689 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: I think we are at -- it's either 15 presently, but with some original programming. We will check. I'm so sorry, I don't have the numbers.
10690 MS HUNT: That's okay. That's okay. And I'm sorry I don't have the numbers. So that's the only thing I would react to, I just need that to be reminded of what it is.
10691 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. So let's wait and see. I will get the number, okay, and we will come back to that question.
10692 MS HUNT: Okay. Thank you.
10693 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay?
10694 MS HUNT: Yes.
10695 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay.
10696 The other issue is advertising. How can we distinguish a public and a private broadcaster? Is it only by advertising or other means we have to make sure that we can distinguish both of them? Because there is advertising on TV and it is CBC, our public broadcaster.
10697 MS HUNT: Yes.
10698 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: So why are you against advertising on Radio 2, I imagine?
10699 MS HUNT: Well, because it's not there now and I am a Radio 2 listener and so I appreciate the constant content without advertising, without breaks to ask me to consume. I just want to consume the radio content.
10700 And I am concerned, as I said in my letter, that to add that now to a radio station that does not -- or broadcasting that does not presently have adverts is going down what is potentially a slippery slope of saying, oh, well, we did it in Radio One and it has helped us in this manner and so now we can -- maybe we will only -- maybe we need it in Radio -- sorry, I was saying Radio 2, inserted it in Radio 2, now maybe we need to have it in Radio One. But then we will be arguing about, well, we won't do it for these hours, we will do them for these hours, and the beauty of our public radio in particular is the fact that we don't have that.
10701 I have friends in the States and particularly in New York State. They adore the CBC. They are mad, they are like -- they are rabid CBC fans. They make me look pale. You know, that is one of your joys, is that not only the quality of the content and the kind of coverage things get and they feel very fair-handed coverage, it is this piece of just listening to conversations and productions without the invasion of advertisers calling on them to get their money.
10702 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes, okay. But we were told by the --
10703 MS HUNT: That's the radio portion.
10704 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. We were told by the CEO of CBC, Mr. Lacroix, that if we don't accept them providing advertising and getting their revenues from national advertising, they would have to change their format and programming, less captation, less live entertainment, maybe more repetition.
10705 So as a really great listener to Radio 2, between the two choices, to lose quality or to get advertising, I know it's a tough question, but which one would you choose?
10706 MS HUNT: It is.
10707 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: It is, but that's what we were told here.
10708 MS HUNT: I know. It's a tough one because, you know, I think that that is always going to be the call, you know. I'm frustrated and a different level of this is that, you know, I would -- and I don't know that the CBC is even in a position to do this, but I mean I just feel like it's being choked of funding, first of all -- I know you're not in a position to do anything about that, but where, when are we as Canadians allowed to -- you know, how do we open a dialogue? Who is a leader to open a dialogue to discuss the business of public funding?
10709 I have seen the CBC adjust its programming and use some repetition in the summer months. I am always very pleased when the fall comes back. I'm not sure. I really have to say I don't know that I really want to hear advertisers. I really don't want to hear Sleep Country talking to me on Radio 2. I don't listen to Radio 2 constantly so that the odds are I might be okay with a bit of repetition, as sad as that might sound.
10710 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: So you would prefer them to find another way to stabilize their revenues than advertising on Radio 2. That's what I conclude.
10711 MS HUNT: That's a fair conclusion, yes.
10712 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes, okay.
10713 Now, I just received what are the former -- it's not a condition of licence, they actually have to respect two expectations. The first one is 15 hours of kids, kids meaning 2-to-11-year-old children, and the second one is five hours of youth 12 to 17. Now, as I told you, they shall, probably it is a condition of licence, broadcast at least 15 hours per week of Canadian programming aimed at children under 12.
10714 MS HUNT: Okay. So it's just a reduction of five hours a week, give or take, roughly, it sounds like.
10715 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes, that's it.
10716 MS HUNT: Yes. I mean I am -- if that is commercial free --
10717 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: It is, yes. We were told it would be commercial free.
10718 MS HUNT: Okay. They could lose that -- I would rather almost that they have a little bit less and not be -- and have some peace from being a consumer. I can tolerate that if we have to, you know, split hairs like that. I really have -- my strongest -- I want them to have the programming. Obviously, my choice would be that it's not reduced because --
10719 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes.
10720 MS HUNT: -- but I really -- probably between the two my most vehement reaction is to advertising to the children.
10721 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. So I could go on with you I think for hours, it's quite interesting, mostly about the regional issue, but I will talk with Mrs. Brenda Baker from Regina in a few minutes. So probably we will discuss more specifically the Regina and Saskatoon issues that you brought today.
10722 So thank you very much. For my part I'm done, and I wish you won't be caught in the gridlock in Toronto while driving back home.
10723 MS HUNT: Thank you very much. Enjoy what's left of colour if there is any in Gatineau.
10724 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh no, not anymore. In fact, we lost the last --
10725 MS HUNT: Long gone.
10726 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's all gone and we have lost the --
10727 MS HUNT: The last leaf.
10728 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- last amount of warm weather. I think winter is upon us.
10729 So thank you very much for appearing.
10730 MS HUNT: Thank you.
10731 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame Poirier is very excited when she speaks and passionate about children as a newly minted grandmother, so you will understand why she cares a great deal about this.
10732 Thank you for participating in our hearing, it is very much appreciated, and for enriching our debate. So thank you very much.
10733 MS HUNT: Thank you. You're welcome.
10734 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
10735 I think we will hear the other intervener at this point before taking a break. Yes, thank you.
10736 THE SECRETARY: Perfect. Thank you.
10737 I would now ask Canadian Association of Film Distributors and Exporters to come to the presentation table.
10738 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome, Mr. East. I will ask you to identify yourselves for the purpose of the transcript and go right ahead to make your presentation.
10739 MR. EAST: Thank you.
10740 Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice Chairman and Commissioners, we thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Ted East and I am President of the Canadian Association of Film Distributors and Exporters (or CAFDE). CAFDE is a non-profit trade association that represents the interests of Canadian-owned feature film distributors.
10741 Presenting with me today, on my left, is Mark Slone, Senior Vice President, Alliance Films, and on my right, Victor Rego, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Marketing and Distribution, Les Films Seville, the Quebec division of Entertainment One.
10742 As with our written intervention, we are going to focus exclusively here on issues related to the role of CBC/Radio-Canada in our national cinema.
10743 Last month at the Symposium on the Promotion of Canadian Films and Television Programs in Ottawa, the Department of Canadian Heritage released a study on viewing habits and attitudes of Canadians towards feature films. The study clearly demonstrated the importance of traditional broadcasting for Canadian feature films.
10744 According to its data 73 percent of Canadians watch films on television at least a few times a month. This is far greater than cinemas at 19 percent, video on demand or pay-per-view services at 26 percent, or renting DVDs at 12 percent.
10745 The study also reveals the demand for Canadian films by the public. Ninety percent of Canadians believe that it is important to have access to Canadian movies.
10746 Despite these findings the reality is many Canadian films struggle to find a home on Canadian television and, as a consequence, are unavailable to many Canadians. These are films that were released in Canadian cinemas and because of their theatrical release have public awareness.
10747 CAFDE appreciates that CBC currently offers Canadian films occasionally on Saturday nights. However, we believe our national public broadcaster should play a stronger role in Canadian cinema as part of its unique cultural mandate. Our national broadcaster is also the only means by which our national cinema can be seen by all Canadians. The role CBC/Radio-Canada has played in past Canadians films is testament to that.
10749 MR. SLONE: Thank you, Ted.
10750 Good afternoon.
10751 For over 30 years Alliance Films and its predecessor companies have had the privilege of distributing some of the most critically and commercially successful Canadian films. Such landmarks in the history of Canadian filmmaking as "Black Robe," "Men With Brooms," "Passchendaele," "Breakaway," "Séraphin," "de Père en Flic," "Bon Cop Bad Cop" and "The Sweet Hereafter," to name but a few.
10752 However, much has changed in the past five years. There has been a massive increase in the number of Hollywood movies released annually and the combined output of the major U.S. studios hold an overwhelming share of the domestic market for movies in all media. Despite this challenge, Alliance is proud to be involved with a host of new Canadian projects, all of which feature Canadian filmmakers telling local and national stories.
10753 In English Canadian production, Brent Butt of "Corner Gas" fame has completed shooting his first film, called "No Clue," in Vancouver.
10754 Director and actor Paul Gross is readying an ambitious project called "Hyena Road," meant to be a coda to Canada's participation in the Afghan War.
10755 Out East on the farthest tip of Newfoundland, the English remake of the smash hit "La Grande Séduction" was shot this past summer.
10756 And finally, a film adaptation of Robert Munch's "The Paper Bag Princess" is in development with director Patricia Rozema.
10757 All of these films are unique, their stories a testament to the diversity of voices that is modern Canada and all contain content suitable for primetime television. But they all have one thing in common: None received a pre-licence from the CBC.
10758 Why is this important? We admit after all these films will ultimately be available in cinemas in the cities and will be available for download on the Internet.
10759 It is important because as the CBC mandates itself to the expression of a culture and the enrichment of democratic life, we have to acknowledge that democracy equals access and the digital age democracy equals access.
10760 As stated in the Heritage Report, television is the primary means through which Canadians access movies.
10761 For a family living outside the major centres where broad band Internet is available, cinemas are few and devoted to Hollywood movies and DVD rental stores are non existent, the CBC has the power and obligation to use its national reach to deliver our movies to all corners of our vast nation. As the CBC's promotional video highlights everywhere is our own neighbourhood.
10762 CAFDE has appeared before this Commission a number of times over the past several years to express its concern about the declining support for feature films by Canadian Broadcasters, particularly so English Canada.
10763 In tough economic times, licensing film rights is a reliable and cost effective way to fill a cultural mandate. Acquisition of Canadian films does not require the CBC to make an investment in their development.
10764 These films come with existing marketing materials built for exploitation in all media and have theatrical and festival lives that give them pre-existing awareness with audiences. Victor.
10765 M. REGO : Bon après-midi.
10766 Tout comme Alliance, c'est vérifiable du soutien qu'elle a toujours apporté aux films canadiens et, ça, autant francophones qu'anglophones.
10767 Nous avons distribué des films tels que « Nuit de noces », récipiendaire de la « Bobine d'Or » en 2002 pour le meilleur box office canadien. Nous avons aussi distribué les films « J'ai serré la main du diable », « Le Monde de Barney » et « Starbuck » aussi récipiendaires de la Bobine d'Or ainsi que le film nominé aux Oscars en 2012, « Monsieur Lazhar ».
10768 Depuis l'adoption de la politique sur les longs métrages par le Gouvernement fédéral il y a 12 ans, le public pour les films francophones a augmenté dramatiquement au Québec. Avant que cette politique ne soit introduite, la part de marché du cinéma québécois au box office était toujours inférieure à 10 pour cent.
10769 Depuis les cinq dernières années cette part de marché québécoise s'est maintenue au-dessus de 15 pour cent et a connu en 2005 une augmentation allant jusqu'à 25 pour cent.
10770 À une époque où la pression hollywoodienne se fait sentir au sein de l'industrie à travers le monde, je crois fermement qu'il s'agit d'un très grand succès sans précédent.
10771 Cette performance résulte sans aucun doute du travail de créateurs chevronnés, de distributeurs dévoués ainsi que du support financier de Téléfilm Canada et de la SODEC. C'est également le résultat de l'extraordinaire contribution de la Société Radio-Canada.
10772 Tel que mentionné dans leur document présenté pour cette audience, la Société Radio-Canada a diffusé un total de 167 longs métrages canadiens au cours des dix dernières années, en leur accordant les meilleures cases horaires de leur programmation.
10773 Nous sommes très heureux que la CBC/Radio-Canada maintienne ce niveau d'engagement dans le futur. Le support de la Société Radio-Canada ne s'en tient pas seulement aux films ayant connu du grand succès commercial, tels que « Starbuck », « Incendie », « Café de Flore » et « Le Sens de l'humour », elle partage notre engagement de promouvoir les oeuvres des réalisateurs de la relève.
10774 En effet, la Société Radio-Canada a appuyé les premiers films d'Émile Goudreau, de Philippe Falardeau et de Sébastien Pilotte. La première mondiale du premier long métrage de Sébastien Pilotte, « Le Vendeur » a d'ailleurs eu lieu au prestigieux Festival de Sundance l'an dernier.
10775 Je seconde Marc sur l'importance du rôle qui peut être joué par la CBC/Radio-Canada dans le support des films canadiens. Le film « Le Monde de Barney » est un très bon exemple. En plus de son important appui financier pour soutenir les frais de la licence, la Société Radio-Canada a diffusé le film plus tôt cette année, ce qui a permis de toucher à un vaste public sur le territoire canadien.
10776 Tout comme Alliance, nous croyons qu'il est de plus en plus difficile pour les films anglophones d'ici de rejoindre le public canadien. Nous détenons également plusieurs films canadiens n'ayant pas des engagements traditionnels en terme de diffusion. Ainsi, le public anglophone a accès à davantage de films en version française, comparativement à la quantité de films en version anglaise produite au Canada.
10777 La CBC/Radio-Canada doit jouer un plus grand rôle dans le support des films de la langue anglaise canadienne. Leur stratégie courante d'offrir les cases horaires les samedis soirs en saison estivale et des heures de grande écoute du dimanche soir n'est malheureusement pas suffisante.
10778 Le refus de canaux comme CITY-TV et Showcase d'offrir des cases horaires aux films canadiens montre à quel point le support de la CBC/Radio-Canada est essentiel.
10779 MR. SLONE: The SRC's commitment to Canadian cinema over the past ten years has indeed played a vital role in building Quebec culture. We are trilled that they are committed to continuing that support in the years ahead.
10780 We believe that the CBC should match that support for English films.
10781 We request a commitment from the CBC to licence at least 12 new Canadian films each year to make a material difference in the success of English language films over the next five years and help build awareness and audiences for the next generation of Canadian filmmakers.
10782 We also believe there are opportunities and non-prime time viewing hours for the CBC to show Canadian films, plus content that may not be suitable for prime time.
10783 The broadcasters in most European countries are mandated to support their indigenous cinema. This support is having material effect on its success, fundamental to the success is the ability of the citizens of those nations to have access to their own films.
10784 In an article in the Globe & Mail earlier this week and as we have heard here in the room today, the Governor General Award winning play right Michael Healy wrote about the importance of the CBC in nation building.
10785 Framing his argument is one of value at this citizenship, he said: "A private broadcaster's mission is the acquisition and maintenance of a profit stream. A public broadcaster's mission is the acquisition and maintenance of nationhood."
10786 CAFDE's members believe that a movie a month is a cost effective way to help the CBC achieve that mission.
10787 Thank you. We will be pleased to answer any questions.
10788 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, gentlemen. Commissioner Duncan will have some questions for you.
10789 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you very much for your presentation.
10790 Commissioner Poirier did ask some questions of the CBC earlier in the proceedings on Tuesday I think it was. Were you present for those?
10791 MR. EAST: We watched them.
10792 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Did you? So, I think the impression that it left was that there was lots of time and that they were committed to English speaking feature films. They talked in terms of Saturday night and Sunday and what I am hearing you say here is that that's not good enough?
10793 MR. SLONE: We do appreciate that they have used the time where they have it either on Saturday nights in the summer when there isn't hockey telefilms and as sellers of films, of course, we are grateful to any sale that we make.
10794 What we are here to argue is though that the CBC has an obligation beyond the filler or the sort of, you know, the throwing bone
10795 in those times of year to support it throughout the year, to actually help build the cinema.
10796 And to build cinema like you're holding anything, it can't be an occasional thing and it can't be one off thing. It has to be a consistent program that has to be framed by the kind of support and promotion that would be typical of anything that they were trying to increase a viewership for.
10797 And particularly in the world today where they control so many online properties that can provide ancillary opportunities to promote that programming and we, as distributors, by the way bring a lot of ready-made things that they can use and repurpose.
10798 CBC no longer has a entertainment news program, but certainly we make the actors and stars available on a regular basis to those CBC programs like "Strombo" that are willing to interview these guys.
10799 And all of these things could be marshalled into a troop program that might actually build cinema that might get people talking about it, that can be directed to an online environment where they can debate and discuss.
10800 We know people love talking about movies. We know people like watching movies. We know that advertisers like advertising in places where movies are being shown if they are trying to attract a movie going demographic.
10801 And so, what we are here to argue is not that the CBC rejects the Canadian film, but that they need to develop a true mandate to support Canadian cinema as part of their overall mandate to provide a cultural fabric coast-to-coast.
10802 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: You are suggesting that we -- that we impose a commitment the CBC licence at least 12 new Canadian films a year and will that satisfy what you are looking for? I mean, I know that's what you are sasking, but will it satisfy your objective?
10803 MR. SLONE: Obviously, my objective would be to see every Canadian film produced have a home on television coast to coast so that Canadians could get them if they are not cable subscribers, if they live up north, they should have that opportunity.
10804 However, 12 would certainly go a long way. In other words, if there was a regular montly slot and then every week, but once a month for in prime time people could see a top quality Canadian film, one that has been sold to the United States for distribution or seen around the world or won prizes in festivals.
10805 And you know, as the quality film goes ujp every year, we think we can really fulfil at least that dozen or so.
10806 I would love to see the point of future years where CBC willingly said, let's do it every week, but at this point that would be a huge step forward and we would be very satisfied to see a movie a month on CBC.
10807 MR. EAST: If I can just add to that. It would also add a consistency, it would build Canadian audiences over time. At the Symposium that we had in Ottawa last month and one of the issues is: Can you brand Canadian television film and television programming and this would be one way.
10808 I mean, on Tuesday, Commissioner Poirier noted about the summer slots and we are competing with the families around the campfire. And, you know, having them all year around, Canadians are going to get used to seeing them and they will discover films they haven't seen before and maybe the numbers initially won't be as strong as we would like, but they will build.
10809 And having heard Mark's list of films, those sound pretty enticing and they're all suitable for prime time and having a national broadcast would increase their audience of Canadian viewers in hundreds of thousands each time.
10810 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: There was -- sorry.
10811 MR. REGO: And Canadian films are being exported more, especially in the last five years.
10812 To Mark's point, we have films now opening in New York almost regularly, everything from this year's "Café de Flore" to "Starbuck" which will be distributed in the States. So, we are now in a situation where people in New York are going to be consuming more Canadian film making than people on the West Coast on some level.
10813 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes. They did make a point in their comment in response to Commissioner Poirier that they weren't all suitable for prime time viewing, but your point just now is that that's really a non-issue because there are sufficient supply that --
10814 MR. SLONE: Increasingly so. I would agree that some years ago there was a tendency towards films that was very very adult in orientation, but as I say, as distributors were recognizing the value of having a broader and more diverse portfolio films, I think Telefilm is in line with that line of thinking and the missing piece to this puzzle would be to have a broadcaster who could also come onboard.
10815 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So you would like to see a commitment for what you say a minimum 12. So, if they are not played -- I am envisioning that what you would like to see is, I'll say the first Tuesday of every month, they would have it and then people would build, would expect that. Is that the idea?
10816 MR. SLONE: Exactly, right there on screens of television broadcasting is this that things that move around the dial have a very hard time or around the schedule, pardon me, have a very hard time finding a home and regular viewing allows people to make appointments for that kind of television.
10817 MR. EAST: I think the other thing to note is since the introduction of the feature film policy in 2000, Canadian cinema has grown enormously. I mean, if you talk about what happened in Quebec in English language Canadian cinema has also improved dramatically. It has reached larger audiences, individual films have achieved box office results that before the policy was introduced, would have been unachievable, except on very rare basis.
10818 Now, it's a regular current and certainly there are 12 new English language Canadian films a year that are suitable for prime time broadcast and would delight Canadian audiences that would otherwise would not get a chance to see them.
10819 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I'm certain that you must -- I guess I shouldn't say "I'm certain". Do you meet periodically with Kirstine Stewart, for example, or the appropriate people at CBC to make your point that SRC are doing it, why aren't you or why aren't you at CBC. And if you do, what is the explanation that you get?
10820 MR. SLONE: We have met with them just prior to our intervention here just to discuss and give them a sense of what we would be talking about.
10821 You know, there is a host of reasons that we've heard before and some of which I understand that are credible and other ones which we question.
10822 We heard things like running time is an issue that somehow the length of Canadian films means that they kept it like into a broadcast slot. We, of course, argued back that somehow the Hollywood movies, and hockey games which also have, you know -- varying running times don't seem to be a problem.
10823 The same issue about suitability for prime time, but as I say, you know, the upcoming list of films makes it quite clear, these are all films that will be rated PG or General audience in the cinemas, meaning they will be suitable for prime time viewing on television.
10824 And then, of course, we heard about the budget cuts and we are very sympathetic to the fact that they have to do more with less. However, our argument is that we are going to be able to help them build more bigger audiences that will attract advertisers and the movies are cost effective because they have a final product that comes all packaged up that requires no development time on their part and comes with materials that are professionally produced and ready to go.
10825 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I see in your comments here and I don't understand it, actually that's the reason that I'm asking, if you would mind explaining to me. You say:
"But they all have -- this is speaking about the Canadian features films -- they all have one thing in common, none of them received a pre-licence from CBC."
10826 And so then, you asked the question: "Why is it important?" I just don't quite understand the point you are making here.
10827 MR. SLONE: The idea of pre-licensing gives a reliable revenue stream to any film as it builds its budget. Part of the -- we've discussed this at previous hearings -- part of the design of Canadian funding is Telefilm, tax credits, the distributor and the broadcaster.
10828 We pay as a distributor, a minimum guarantee, a minimum amount of money that we guarantee to the production that allows them to put that into their financing and know that it's coming. The amount we pay for that is predicated on our ability to presage what the revenues will be like down the road.
10829 Television is the most reliable box office, it's very unreliable movie DVD sales are unreliable, but television pre-sales means that there is a certain amount we can guarantee on and that we can pass that revenue on to the producers, which helps make a bigger and better film, helps get bigger stars in the movies or increase the production size of the budget, which in turn, I may add, increases its value around the world.
10830 And so, with a pre-licence from organizations like CBC, there would just be that more much stability in the market that will allow some of these pictures to forward or become better movies as they are made.
10831 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: And to this point they don't give you -- of the pre-licence, because they don't have the budget as they prefer to buy American?
10832 MR. SLONE: Pardon me. And the pre-licence versus the licence aftewards is a question of timing. The size of the licensing that they are offering are indeed quite low. But we sort of acknowledge the idea that the numbers are not going to be huge from the CBC.
10833 Our argument here is partly about the stability for the financial and it's also about the dissemination issue, which is why is it the Canadian films, and some of which are outstanding.
10834 We were talking about "Monsieur Lazhar" the other day, what a brilliant wonderful film that should be seen on public Canadian television, absolutely everywhere. The film was lotted around the world as Canada's entry to the Oscars. There is no reason why it shouldn't be, in the first instance, available to Canadians as soon as free television window comes. And there is many more examples of those kinds of films.
10835 So, I think our main point here and the main reason we are in the Canadian business is to support that side of Canadian culture.
10836 We sell American films as well and we happily sell them to CBC and others who want to buy, but on the Canadian film front, this is the opportunity we have to truly maximize an investment that is being made by taxpayers anyways through tax credits in Telefilm and ensuring that is properly disseminated, as Ted has said, as we see in countries around the world.
10837 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So, I don't think -- I just have one more question for you.
10838 That's clear what you want, you want a commitment. CBC, of course, is looking for more flexibility and I am gathering that you are saying if we can't rely on flexibility and then doing it on their own because they haven't done it in the past, it needs a rule?
10839 MR. EAST: Yes. I think if you look back in time to the beginning of the new Feature Film Policy, which roughly coincided with the new current term of the CBC's licence, Radio-Canada has been a consistent supporter of French language films.
10840 CBC in English has always supported Canadian films, it's just the level of support and how that support manifested itself, always changed, it was always changing. So, we, I guess are comfortable with SRC's commitment to Canadian films going forward, CBC in English is totally silent on it in their proposal.
10841 So, we would like to see a much more formal commitment, so at least as we go forward into the future, and God knows what that brings, if they lose the NHL or maybe not, we know that films -- they do have to build around films.
10842 When they have a commitment that's enforced, they have to be committed to making it work and we are, you know, obviously happy partners with them in that venture.
10843 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So, I take it from that then we could impose a commitment on CBC, but it wouldn't be necessary to do the same thing on SRC?
10844 M. REGO : Non. Au Québec, il y a une belle complicité entre Radio-Canada et le cinéma, et le monde du cinéma.
10845 Dans le cas des pré-licences que Marc soulignait, c'est déjà en place. Des films comme « Monsieur Lazhar » et « Incendie », Radio-Canada est déjà... fait déjà partie du financement et c'est quelqu'un avec qui il y a des retombées. On travaille le marché avec eux -- on peut le dire comme ça -- à travers toutes leurs plates-formes en réalité.
10846 Et ce que je crois qu'on cherche, c'est d'avoir quelque chose qui aurait le même genre de complicité au Canada anglais et où est-ce que le dynamique serait plus viable essentiellement.
10847 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you. The condition, the revision that CBC made to their proposed COLs, they will have seven hours, as they had originally said in prime time, but they have committed to do one hour of drama and comedy and one hour of long form documentary in the seven hours.
10848 So, your request would fall within those categories or are you asking for something over and above?
10849 MR. EAST: Well, presumably, feature films does fall within the PNI category.
10850 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes.
10851 MR. EAST: So, it would fall within that. I mean, of the issue that we have with PNI, we think it's an improvement on programs of -- partly programming category, but there is no guarantees for feature film within that and given what's happened in the last ten years, since the Feature Film Policy, we have had no regulatory support for feature films. In fact, the reverse has happened.
10852 We have seen broadcasters like Showcase lessen their support, we have seen pay television licences actually go down, particularly during the period when their subscribers basing revenues have shown enormous growth.
10853 We have seen CITY-TV, which has been a long -- which had been a very long and important supporter of Canadian film ceased to be in it. When Rogers the new owner appeared before this Commission, they guaranteed, they promised they would continue that support and the minute they were approved, it stopped.
10854 So, we are concerned about where film fits in the PNI and I think if you look at the group licence term in the future, we believe, if the numbers are accurate, that a lot more money is going to be spent on PNI. But is that going to be a succesful policy if during that term, feature film doesn't benefit from it, in fact less is spent on feature film?
10855 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: That clarifies it for me that you want us to specify that that would be part of their PNI obligation.
10856 MR. EAST: In the context of the CBC we believe that it's appropriate, yes.
10857 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. Thank you very much. Those are my questions, Mr. Chair.
10858 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Vice-Chair has some questions, I get.
10859 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Thank you. Alors, au Québec, c'est évident qu'il y a une pré-licence ou une pré-vente si on veut parler en anglicisme avec soit TVA Films ou avec la Société Radio-Can., mais c'est une autre réalité
10860 Just to get back to sort of running times and I was struck by the sort of running times or argument, isn't there a running times issue with MI3 and BORN?
10861 MR. SLONE: That would be my understanding as well. And one of the things, I would say, is that if it became -- if that was truly an issue, it would be absolutely reasonable for the CBC to request delivery of pre-trend programming.
10862 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Right.
10863 MR. SLONE: That I am sure filmmakers in exchange for sale to the CBC would do with pleasure.
10864 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: But it would kill themselves to do it.
10865 MR. SLONE: Yes.
10866 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Don't you need a weekly appointment to create appointment television? Your ask is for a monthly viewing. Can you really create sort of an appointment type loyalty on a once-a-month film?
10867 MR. SLONE: It's a good question. I mean, obviously, as a seller of film it would be great to have a weekly thing. We are mindful of both the budget realities and the scheduling realities and didn't want to come with a request that we felt would be onerous to achieve.
10868 And to my earlier point, I think the existence of online communities now allow for a certain continuity even on a monthly basis if they are well-utilized.
10869 There is amazing opportunities that we are able to exploit right now online that builds excitement, for instance, in the months leading up to a film is coming out. I believe to carry over from month to month, that you would have an opportunity to create some of those ways that might mitigate what you're getting at.
10870 I do agree with you, though that it would be indeed an uphill battle on a month to month basis to create that kind of continuity, but monthly would be better than -- than weeks and weeks and weeks between them.
10871 MR. EAST: But there is also a material --
10872 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Years, between them. Yes, go ahead.
10873 MR. EAST: There is a material difference between a drama series and a series of feature films because feature films are one offs. I mean, it would be challenging to break a new drama series like "Rookie Blue", if you want to wait another month for the next episode, you will lose viewers.
10874 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes.
10875 MR. EAST: Whereas a feature film, you can promote it, coming up this Tuesday, we are going to say this movie or you can run little trailers for, and it's a new viewing experience. You are seeing something you haven't seen before.
10876 So, it's all -- you could perhaps use it to your advantage, but --
10877 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: That's one of this "Movie of the Week" experience and the Americans which did it.
10878 MR. EAST: Yes.
10879 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And other people did it.
10880 MR. EAST: This is not. I mean, feature films are different from "Movies of the Week". There is also a pre-awareness of these films --
10881 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: "Movie show of the Week" is not necessarily a movie of the week.
10882 MR. EAST: Right. Yes.
10883 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: The kind of movies that would be classified as movie of the week, you would take any kind of movie and play it on a weekly basis.
10884 Vous voulez rajouter quelque chose?
10885 MR. REGO: I see it very much as a marketing challenge in terms of that play ability because to Mark's point, that is -- I mean, when we are working for theatrical release, we have this three-month window, but all of the intents work and all of the investment comes roughly within a month before the release.
10886 So, it is possible, obviously it's up to them on how they would market such a mechanism, but the monthly, it could be marketed as such.
10887 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
10888 MR. REGO: It's just the fact that by the time you are finished broadcasting one, you could already tease the other one, the same way we do with movies by placing trailers, they can trailer the next one at the end of the first one. I see it mostly as a marketing challenge.
10889 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: If you committed to it, there is a way of marketing almost appointment television a monthly appointment, not a weekly appointment.
10890 MR. SLONE: I was just going to say perhaps one could think of it's like the way a program a series of lectures or even a series of film things that TIP does and these kinds of things where there is a schedule and you can look two or films into the future and be -- at this point just be teasing them and teasing.
10891 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes. Okay. What about the argument that there is a cash crunch and Canadian films just will not -- will not draw the audiences and hence, not draw the revenues and that's why they're forced to play the "Bourne"s, the "MI-3"s and the "Pirates of the Carribbean" or whatever else they are playing?
10892 MR SLONE: My opinion is that there is a kind of thinking that says that Canadian films don't get audiences and I think that this is sort of an outdated philosophy. And I do agree that at one point the films were much much less accessible, but to Victor's point, when you talk about these titles, I hope that you guys have heard of many of the titles that we announced today and that's for the average Canadian, let alone the CRTC, Commissioner, we really would love that and we get to the point, when they do become common place for people to know of them and we only say things like "Passchendaele" and "Barney's Version" and "De père en flic", people have heard of these movies now. It's a different time in movies.
10893 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And above and beyond strictly financial considerations, I mean if we are going to give Canadian films a hand up, would the public broadcaster have some kind of responsibility in that regard?
10894 MR. SLONE: Absolutely. When a public broadcaster with a mandate to provide national unity an to tell our stories, I cannot think of a more appropriate way than to have our own films being shown and our own broadcast, it's just like it's done all over the Western world.
10895 MR. REGO: And they tend to reflect the Canadian identity much more clearly in all of the regionalism and all of the mandates they tend to show up, tend to be vehicle through the narratives of our own production because when you look at the success of a movie like « Incendies » ou « Monsieur Lazhar », on the surface, it looks like a story happening in the Middle East or the story of an immigrant, but at the heart of it, there is reason that the québécois and new world audiences find themselves, it is a uniquely -- it is part of the Canadian fabric on a very touching level.
10896 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes. They reflect human values through Canadian identity.
10897 Would something of the order that came up was that, you know « Incendie » would just not be appropriate for audiences on television? Do you buy that argument? And is there a greater sensibility to edgier films in English Canada than there is in Quebec?
10898 MR. REGO: To edge the film?
10899 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Edgier.
10900 MR. REGO: Oh! are they edgier.
10901 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Is there a greater --
10902 MR. REGO: Yes. And there is --
10903 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Sont-ils plus sensibles?
10904 M. REGO : Oui.
10905 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Bien oui, on a déjà vu ça, là, on n'est pas pour retourner dans le bon vieux temps de « Lance et Compte », mais --
10906 M. REGO : Juste deux ans... « Lance et Compte ».
10907 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Bien non. Il y a une vingtaine d'années, l'original.
10908 M. REGO : Et on a sorti un film, mais...
10909 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Oui, oui, mais ce n'était pas fameux. En tout cas... non, je n'ai pas dit ça.
10910 M. REGO : C'est correct, c'est à Radio-Can.
10911 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Mais tout ça pour dire... bien, à comparer aux séries originales.
10912 Mais il y avait matière qui était acceptable au Québec ou dans le Canada français qui est moins acceptable dans le Canada anglais. Est-ce que ça peut appuyer certains arguments que nous avons entendus lundi ou mardi de cette semaine?
10913 M. REGO : Bien, je pense que -- It's clear that there is a slight shift in sensibility, we are not going to sort of like turn the back to that, but --
10914 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Even today?
10915 MR. REGO: Well, there is a difference between films that are going to be a huge success in Quebec and films that are going to be a huge success internationally. I don't think we are trying to generalize that way.
10916 I think what we are focusing on is that there is enough quality production being done or is available now compared to Mark's point that it might not have been the case 15 years, but in terms of the sensibility 12 films a year, considering that we are exporting a great deal number higher than that now, but the mandate is even in terms of the SODEQ and Telefims have changed are going pretty much in that direction, it's not unrealistic or unviable.
10917 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Would it be helpful to have your 12 films a year in prime time and perhaps a movie of the week of prime time where you can also sort of introduce edgier fair?
10918 MR. SLONE: I would welcome the opportunity to continue with the programming of Saturday night or even late night slots. We are aware that the overnight slots don't provide as an opportunity for CBC for their needs. But absolutely, I think --
10919 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: They used to run a lot of Quebec films at midnight on CBC, if I remember back in the day on Saturdays.
10920 MR. REGO: We won't say why.
10921 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Well, that goes to my previous questions. Is there a problem there? I mean is « Incendie » too edgy for prime time viewing in English Canada?
10922 MR. EAST: I would suggest it's not, given --
10923 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Or « Café de Flore » or anything else?
10924 MR. EAST: Given with the proper disclaimers beforehand and the proper presentation of it, given it's worldwide --
10925 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: You can also edit potentially a scene or two.
10926 MR. EAST: Potentially, but given it's worldwide critical acclaim, I mean it's a very important film that tells a very moving, but tough story and I think that it's appropriate for a national broadcaster to show that with those, you know, disclaimers, et cetera.
10927 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And we are a mature a sophisticated audience, I mean.
10928 MR. EAST: Yes. Sure you will get some complaints, but --
10929 MR. REGO: Yes. I mean it's one of the difficulties we have. I mean, it's themes that are just in the film and we have a harder time potentially with them, but they are on the news. So, at some point, there is a judgment call to be made.
10930 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Thank you so much. Sorry for taking so much time.
10931 LE PRÉSIDENT : Pas de problème.
10932 Madame Poirier.
10933 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes, just a few short questions with short answers, please.
10934 I want to make sure I understand. Does SRC funds and broadcasts Canadian films?
10935 M. REGO : Oui, et il y a une certaine licence et diffusion.
10936 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Oui. But CBC doesn't fund only this -- only broadcast films?
10937 MR. SLONE: There was a brief period a couple of years ago where they entered into a production thing, which they have now completely got --
10938 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: That's it. They are out of that business?
10939 MR. SLONE: They are no longer in that business whatsoever. Yes, yes.
10940 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: That's what I heard this week?
10941 MR. SLONE: Yes, yes.
10942 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. So, this is a difference between the two markets, okay. This is one of the differences. And there are some others.
10943 I wonder how come they can say that the format doesn't suit the Canadian CBC-TV while the films in French can suit the schedule in French. How is that possible? Are we so different?
10944 MR. SLONE: We don't think it is possible and we think that the markets are very similar in that way and that is not a valid argument.
10945 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: It is not a good argument is your real point. My last question: Are all the Canadian films translated? Mr. Lazhar is translated in English. Is Goon translated in French?
10946 MR. REGO: I'm sorry. They tend to be sub-titled.
10947 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Sub-titled?
10948 M. REGO : Oui, comparativement au Québec, en anglais il n'y a pas... il n'y a pas la tradition, il n'y a pas la culture du doublage.
10949 The films in English, there isn't that culture, so it tends to be sub-titled. A lot of the films, a lot of Quebec, most, I would venture most. I don't have numbers.
10950 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Are translated?
10951 MR. REGO: That are sub-titled.
10952 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Sub-titled.
10953 MR. REGO: Made available in English.
10954 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. So this doesn't help the exchange of the two cultures film productions, it doesn't help that?
10955 MR. SLONE: Well, what I'll say is that when the films have a natural ability to be consumed by French and English audiences, the same like was the case with "Goon", we actually do a French version, you know, using -- where they say, in appropriate language in English, we find the appropriate, inappropriate language in French and we try to do that directly.
10956 And also, for the DVD market, we are much more likely to do dubbing because it's a slightly cheaper thing to do. So, from English into French, we are fairly likely to do that.
10957 MR. REGO: From English into French, we are very --
10958 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: You are not the opposite?
10959 MR. SLONE: Not so much and that's largely the way that English Canadians are not used to consuming that material.
10960 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes, but imagine, Mr. Lazhar is a great film, that's what we've said, so it has to be dubbed.
10961 MR. SLONE: But English Canadians don't -- it's a -- dubbing is so infrequently seen on Canadian television, like into English, that it's a bizarre thing to --
10962 M. REGO: Difference culturelle.
10963 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: I know it's a bizarre thing, but still, those films are recognized throughout the world and in their own country, they are not.
10964 MR. SLONE: I must say that whether it's sub-titled or dubbed, I think I completely agree with you, it's ridiculous that they are not available.
10965 I would even go as far as to say that an experiment in dubbing to see if there was something that could be reintroduced would be well worth trying; traditionally, however, it has been sub-titled.
10966 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. We keep the idea. Thank you very much.
10967 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Simpson.
10968 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Hello, gentlemen, a couple of quick questions.
10969 How many productions are coming out of Canada that are feature films that are destined for theatrical release? Just a ball park number on an annual basis?
10970 MR. SLONE: I think it's about 35 to 40 a year.
10971 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Truly. That's really great there.
10972 On the subject of content, Canadian content, one of the things that, you know, can -- the knife that can cut two ways, when Canadian content, regulations were imposed on radio stations way back in the seventies, they kind of backfired and my question goes to the content regulations as they apply to the feature film industry.
10973 We were in a situation where a lot of predominent Canadian artists didn't qualify for Canadian content like in the radio because Shania Twain chose to record the song in New York and as a result it just didn't, you know, top up the Canadian content requirements or conversely you could shoot an entire film and do an entire production in Canada, but if it didn't have a Canadian artist, you know, as a headliner, it fell apart.
10974 My question to you is: Could you instruct me, give me some information as to what the rules of engagement are with respect to what qualifies as a feature film, a Canadian --
10975 MR. EAST: Very similar to television, sort of a ten point system. Fundamentally, you would have to have a Canadian producer.
10976 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.
10977 MR. EAST: And then you would have to have a least eight out of ten points for Telefilms investment and six out of ten points for it to be considered as Canadian content for the broadcasting sector.
10978 But you could point to -- I mean, one of the problems in English speaking Canada is there is a bit of a talent train and you can point to films, American films like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" or "Wayne's World" that are fundamentally Canadian, conceived by, acted by Canadians, about Canadian experiences. They are not Canadian content movies and I don't want to get into a long debate about the content rules and how they need to be modernized, but it's -- I don't think the Canadian content problem really exists for feature. That's not a big problem for us right now.
10979 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Possibly not on the kind of ask that you are looking at, which is 12 per year, but, you know, I do want to understand more about it and I'll make it a point for me to find out, but it seems to me that even from the financing perspective, you know, it's easier to finance a film when you've got more star power and if it means sharing another camera with a few international stars or American stars, to me it's a shame that all of a sudden, lots of good films that perhaps, you now, the biggest chunk of the dollars is spent on Canadian craft and talent in this country, that it doesn't fit the bill.
10980 MR. EAST: There are a lot of co-productions that happen. That is the other avenue. David Cronenberg does a lot of international co-productions, and that allows actors that are not Canadian to appear, which enhances their value at home and abroad.
10981 MR. SLONE: But we agree wholeheartedly that a relaxing of those rules would allow more people working in this business and this industry to flourish here at home.
10982 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I have two more questions, just quickly. Made-for-TV movies, what happened to them? Is it still a genre that is being produced, and is it something that could kickstart more television of long format being produced in Canada?
10983 Because it was all the rage back in the eighties, and I'm just wondering what happened.
10984 MR. SLONE: It's interesting, there is a huge number of made-for-television films that are being produced in Canada for American networks like Lifetime and other big stations that are commissioning those things.
10985 There is an amazing number of them, and a number of them end up being Canadian content. There was one on J.K. Rowling last year that fit that bill.
10986 That seems to be the model right now, is that these large U.S. cable networks bring them in, and certain savvy Canadian producers have learned how to Canadianize them enough that they qualify for tax credits and CanCon status.
10987 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: That's good to know.
10988 My last question is on the star system. I have always been impressed with the ability of a producer in an international production to come to the realization that for every dollar that goes into the camera, another 2 or 3 is being spent to build the film and, in turn, the promotional value, and ergo build the star value of the people in it.
10989 Is this a trend that is becoming more accepted with respect to Canadian-only productions, or is it still a hard slog to find the promotion money to match the production money?
10990 MR. SLONE: Telefilm has, over the years, actually improved the way that we are able to use the marketing fund. They have embraced the concept of audience testing for films before they are finished, so that we can help make better films and take out, sometimes, what are some of the little problems that stop a film from, say, being valuable internationally.
10991 I think a good part of the credit for why we are getting better quality films now is that there is a much more sophisticated way of managing the promotional dollars, that is allowing us to start promoting on the Internet earlier, like even at the production stage, testing the films with audiences to work out little wrinkly problems and so on.
10992 So I think that, while it still remains a problem, it is one that is being ameliorated.
10993 MR. EAST: But on that point, the American studios are spending more and more with each film. They are spending a quarter of a billion dollars to produce and market a film --
10994 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: It's stunning, yeah.
10995 MR. EAST: -- and Canadian films, in Canada, have to find a way through that.
10996 And that's another reason for CBC's role. You spend all of this money releasing it in theatres, so you have created all of this awareness, and theatre life is pretty short, as we know. We need other ways for Canadians to see these films.
10997 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I am just wondering -- you know, CBC has done a really good job of building its own star system with respect to its on-camera presenters. Everybody knows who Peter Mansbridge is and George Stroumboulopoulous and Rick Mercer.
10998 If they can't give you the exhibition needs, which is your core business, I am just wondering if there is any margin for thought in having them, with some of their commitment to Canadian content -- and potentially increasing it if there is no hockey -- that they can help you build the star system, even if they are not a net purchaser of the end product.
10999 MR. SLONE: They would have to get back in the business of having entertainment news, which is something they don't do any more.
11000 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Interesting.
11001 Thank you, that's it.
11002 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just one question from me. When you are proposing a condition of licence or an expectation about films, does your definition include feature-length, long-form documentaries?
11003 I know they are rare, but like "The Corporation" and that sort of stuff, or --
11004 MR. SLONE: They are rare, for sure, but absolutely -- I think we have faced it with films like "The Corporation" or "Born into Brothels", absolutely.
11005 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Your examples tend to be narrative films --
11006 MR. SLONE: Yes, I think that the key criterion for us would be theatrically released, those films that were of a good enough quality to be sold into cinemas and promoted to cinema goers.
11007 MR. EAST: A very important point: to be distinguished from feature-length documentaries that the CBC is committing to anyway.
11008 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, long-form, but there could be a situation where the expectations with respect to documentary could overlap with an expectation with respect to documentaries, provided it is, in your view, long-form and theatrical.
11009 MR. EAST: Yes, but the overlap would be small.
11010 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, it would be rare, because there aren't a lot of those. There have been tendencies and trends over the years as to --
11011 MR. EAST: Yes.
11012 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, good.
11013 My second question: When you had the discussion about -- of course you would like to have changes to the Canadian content rules, but you are not suggesting that, just within the CBC renewal, we would somehow change those rules.
11014 MR. EAST: I don't know that you have the ability to do that. Content regulations are long overdue for a change. I mean, there was a consultation that happened some years ago -- it doesn't work on so many levels. Anything that you could do to facilitate a revising of the 10-point system into something that is more for the 21st Century would be great.
11015 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are you suggesting out of sync with the rules for tax credits?
11016 MR. EAST: No, I am talking about what qualifies as Canadian content, like the 10-point system.
11017 THE CHAIRPERSON: Which is also used for tax credits.
11018 MR. EAST: Yes.
11019 THE CHAIRPERSON: You mean globally, for all --
11020 MR. EAST: Yes, I mean globally, sorry.
11021 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. You weren't asking for something specific in this particular case.
11022 MR. EAST: No, no. We would like to see a global review of the content regulations.
11023 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you agree with me that it would not be beneficial to the system if we all started creating our own rules.
11024 MR. EAST: If it got more Canadian movies on the CBC, sure.
11025 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right, then, I understand.
11026 Thank you, those are our questions.
11027 We will take a ten-minute break and come back at five past four. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1554
--- Upon resuming at 1606
11028 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary...
11029 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
11030 We will now hear the presentation of Brenda Baker, who is appearing by videoconference from Regina.
11031 Hello, Madam Baker, how are you?
11032 MS BAKER: Hello, I'm well, thank you.
11033 THE SECRETARY: Perfect.
11034 You may begin your presentation. Thank you.
11035 MS BAKER: Hello, everyone in Quebec. I would like to thank you, Chairman Blais and CRTC Commissioners, for this opportunity to speak today.
11036 I will be focusing first on the arts, and then on CBC's responsibility in the so-called regions.
11037 Like many Canadians, I am passionate about public broadcasting. For over 30 years, my dial has been locked onto Radio One.
11038 As a performing songwriter, I have been featured numerous times on CBC Radio and TV, and for six years, beginning in 1985, I worked for CBC Saskatchewan's Radio Arts Department. I was a freelancer and on-air weekend host.
11039 So I have seen it from the inside, and wasn't I lucky.
11040 The Regina Broadcast Centre was such an exciting place to be, especially for artists, but not anymore.
11041 We can blame funding cuts to some extent, absolutely, but the choices being made about how to implement those cuts must be questioned. It is my contention that, compared to the eighties, the culture within CBC management has changed, so that it has become far less artist friendly.
11042 Do you realize that when CBC President Lacroix spoke to the Economic Club of Canada last June -- it was a great long speech -- he never once used the word "arts"?
11043 How can a person talk about CBC and not mention the arts? It's absurd.
11044 I have a YouTube channel, devoted to an event that I organized to protest the recent permanent dismantling of Saskatchewan's live music recording program. For all intents and purposes, the cut also took down the formerly vibrant Radio Arts Department, four people who did a huge amount of important work on a shoestring.
11045 On YouTube, you will see 22 artists speak eloquently against the damage this will do to our province. Some speakers also touch on the dwindling CBC resources for literature and playwriting.
11046 The YouTube URL was in my intervention request, so I hope that you will watch the videos.
11047 Now, included in my brief today is this. It is a list of all the Saskatchewan musical acts who were recorded by the CBC in the final two and a half years of the Saskatchewan program. There are 300 musicians in all.
11048 They received promotion payment and regional airplay from CBC Saskatchewan, and some were heard on network shows.
11049 I am here to tell you that 43 music channels, open to any and all musicians, may sound cool, but it will never replace the kind of artist discovery and development that producer Bonnie Austring-Winter was responsible for, never in a million years.
11050 As CBC becomes all about the news and far less about the arts, it is no longer willing to do its share of talent development. Management is no longer interested in paying for the work of artists or art journalists. But program producers still want music, and they want to talk about our books, our plays, our movies. They need content that will make the CBC still seem as artsy and erudite as it always was. They are still hungry for that much.
11051 Today's CBC wants to eat, but it doesn't want to cook or even buy the groceries.
11052 The regions used to be a real part of CBC's core programming. Saskatchewan's writers and thinkers had a national presence. Now the only Saskatchewanian you will hear across the nation is Brad Wall.
11053 Back when I was employed by the CBC, at least two network radio shows were produced here for next to nothing. Our arts journalists fed the National Arts Report. Our cultural events and issues were heard across Canada because of that.
11054 We produced TV shows, including a national country music show, and when I travelled across Canada as a songwriter, national radio shows in Toronto and Winnipeg welcomed me and other regional artists.
11055 When was the last time you heard a Saskatchewan musician featured on a network show?
11056 The biggest music story out of this province is The Sheepdogs right now. They have an amazing international career and have barely received a mention on Q, while artists from outside Canada are constantly interviewed.
11057 Now, I happen to like Q, but the point is, where are the network shows that make room for emerging and regional artists?
11058 The CBC is mandated to reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions.
11059 So who gets to define our "special needs"? Nobody in Toronto asked anyone here if it was a good idea to kill the live recording program. Nobody.
11060 And how is Saskatchewan being reflected to the nation? It isn't, really. CBC's "Canada lives here" slogan doesn't really include Saskatchewan. More's the pity because we have so much to offer to the national conversation that should be happening on the CBC.
11061 Thank you so much for listening.
11062 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms Baker, for that presentation.
11063 I note that, you know, even the terminology "regions" is very Ottawa-centric --
11064 MS BAKER: Yeah.
11065 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- in saying things globally because it's us versus them sort of thing. So we'll try to avoid that during this conversation if we can.
11066 MS BAKER: All right.
11067 THE CHAIRPERSON: Unfortunately, it's right there in the middle of the Act so it'll be a little bit hard for us to completely avoid it.
11068 So Madam Poirier will have some questions for you.
11069 MS BAKER: Great.
11070 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Thank you, Ms Baker, for coming in the Regina office. We do appreciate that you took the time to meet with us.
11071 I really enjoyed reading your application. It was done a year ago, though, okay, so I wonder, okay. And this is my first question because I think you wrote it in October 2011. You brought some other elements in it.
11072 I wonder have you seen a change since then because we had the presentation from the CEO of the CRTC and now, indeed, they have a new strategic plan called "Everyone, Everywhere".
11073 MS BAKER: Yes.
11074 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: So I wonder, is it better now than it used to be a year ago? Do you see a difference? Do you hear a difference?
11075 MS BAKER: Sorry, but my application to intervene was actually just written up about six weeks ago, not a year ago.
11076 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Oh, there is a mistake on the date, okay, on the paper then.
11077 MS BAKER: Okay, okay. And maybe that's my fault. I'll have to check. I'm sorry.
11078 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay.
11079 MS BAKER: However, yeah. So my answer at the moment would be, no.
11080 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: No. Okay, since then.
11081 MS BAKER: I'm curious to see how it is they're going to -- if we're talking about the live recording part of what CBC is still going to be doing, but they're only going to do a third of the number of recordings that they used to do and apparently they will be doing this with smaller equipment.
11082 Like, what occurred to me is who are the people that are going to do it? Who are the people that are going to connect with the artists and the venues in Saskatchewan? Who is going to know those people well enough to be able to decide (a) who is ready to be recorded in that way and deserving of that opportunity and that attention?
11083 And how are they going to relate to the places where formerly our radio arts department could go in and set up a mobile. They knew the places. They knew how to do it. They would go even to the tiniest little places to do it, you know? It was very -- it was important that they got out into all parts of Saskatchewan.
11084 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Well, the presentation we had from Mr. Lacroix was telling us that they will be more regional, okay, more than ever, and it's the trend. They will continue to do that.
11085 But they also mentioned that if we don't allow advertising on Radio 2 -- you said you're mostly a listener to Radio One, but he said if we don't support advertising on Radio 2 there would be even less support to local artists because they would provide us with less capitation from the regional areas.
11086 So what do you think about that plan? Should we allow advertising on Radio 2 to get in return a little bit more of the showcase from the artists from all over Canada?
11087 MS BAKER: No, no. You know, the government we have now is not going to be the government we are going to have forever. But if we put commercials on Radio 2 now it will be very, very difficult to take that off again should times get better.
11088 It is my hope that Canadians will rally over time and perhaps when the day comes that we have a more -- a government that is more CBC friendly, and will improve the lot of CBC without advertising.
11089 So I guess I would say in the short term I would be willing to see a further sacrifice, hoping that in the future we can educate Canadians more about broadcasting, the importance of it, that we get more support from the larger population and that ultimately a different government would see that public broadcasting must be funded well. It's so important to our democracy.
11090 I may also say the Strategy 2015, words "Improve regional programming" came up. There was a big poster that I read. It was like a mantra. It was all the way through it, and I just don't believe it. I'm sorry. I just don't believe it's going to get better.
11091 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. So it seems you lost trust in our public broadcaster.
11092 MS BAKER: Oh, yeah. No, definitely. From where I sit in Saskatchewan at this point I'm really disappointed.
11093 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: So how could they regain trust, because you contest the implementation of the cuts? Cuts are always difficult to make than if you cut here than if you cut there. There will always be unsatisfied groups to complain about the cuts.
11094 So what is the solution?
11095 MS BAKER: I don't see ours as just a group. I, in my experience with CBC for a very long time, saw the culture of CBC being both about news, current events, but also about the creation and dissemination of the arts because the culture of CBC at that time was that the arts are that important. They were respected and well-funded, all right?
11096 So it seems to me that at the moment what's happening is somebody or some group of people has decided that the core programming of CBC is really about the news and it's also really about what's coming out of the major centres.
11097 And I disagree. It seems to me that, yeah, the cuts are tough all over, for sure, but they're way tougher for the arts side of what CBC was about and disproportionately to the news and what CBC does.
11098 So I don't want to see any of it cut, but I certainly don't think it's fair, you know, to be cutting the arts in this way and, you know, leaving the news side of it, as interesting as it all is, less harmed, if I could put it that way.
11099 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yeah, okay.
11100 In paragraph 14 I can read that long ago CBC promised a new radio morning show in Saskatoon. What's going on? Have you heard about any morning show now in Saskatoon? Is it in the plan?
11101 MS BAKER: Well, they say it is, yeah, but, oh, boy, it's been some years since I remember standing in a hotel in Saskatoon and a woman from CBC Toronto -- I'm sorry. I can't think of her name -- was there and made -- I think it was the first announcement that that was the direction CBC was going ahead, was to have a station and shows coming out of Saskatoon.
11102 The room was full of people and I can tell you I was the first one cheering. You know, I thought that was just great.
11103 I still think that that's one of the important things to do. But I have to say you know, again, for me at this point I kind of resent it a bit because I feel as though the artists are kind of paying for us to have one more station in Saskatoon, you know, so cutback on the artists and take funding over and start a station in Saskatoon.
11104 I want to know, what's going to be on the station? Like, how good will the programming be, if we don't have adequate funding for that station to do excellent broadcasting?
11105 If you just open up the doors and stick a mike in front of somebody, you know, is that the station? What else are they planning to do in terms of content for the station and people to run it?
11106 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yeah, so, you're supportive of providing people from Saskatoon with local news, okay, but as long as it comes along with supporting also the artists' community.
11107 MS BAKER: Yes, absolutely.
11108 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay. I just want to just review what you stated in your document.
11109 You support the development of local artists. You want to offer a real radio station in Saskatoon. You want CBC to be less Toronto-centric, more Canadian.
11110 Does it summarize your viewpoint?
11111 MS BAKER: Yeah, I want Saskatchewan and all the other regions, because let's remember these cuts do say live music recording. It happened in Manitoba, Alberta and Newfoundland.
11112 I want us let back in. I feel like more and more we're very much on the outside of what's really going on in CBC and that's all happening in the bigger, bigger centres, right?
11113 So that's what I'm looking for, is signs that somehow all Canadians are getting in on some of these network shows in a way that I know that we used to.
11114 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: So thank you. I'm done from my side. Maybe some other Commissioners have a question for you. I hope the weather is fine in Saskatoon.
11115 MS BAKER: Thank you. It's better in Saskatoon than here in Regina.
11116 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'll have one final question for you. It relates to I know one of your -- a particular focus is arts programming and you're looking to CBC to provide that window into Canadian creativity.
11117 But I was wondering when you look at the broader broadcasting system, I take it that you're not being served on other platforms either, private broadcasters and so forth, or are you?
11118 MS BAKER: As artists, musicians and so on.
11119 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's correct.
11120 MS BAKER: Do we have other opportunities? Is that what you're asking?
11121 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, well, you know.
11122 MS BAKER: Okay.
11123 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, Bravo -- the Bravo, especially some of the specialty networks, private sector radio that are also part of the broader broadcasting system.
11124 MS BAKER: There are a few things that go on from time to time where some funds might become available and one of the radio stations will have a sort of a competition for musicians to get some money to do a recording and that sort of thing.
11125 But I would say that none of those sorts of projects have the kind of prestige that CBC has because of its national network in part. You have a chance of actually being heard across the country, like on Canada Live was the program that did the live recording.
11126 And the way in which CBC treated artists you know, paying them properly, making sure that the gigs were well run, that they were very well recorded with people who had ears, you know, and could actually do a good job of the mix and so on. But I don't see that anywhere else. That's what was going on at CBC, you know.
11127 And thanks for asking about the broader picture because if I can just say -- I know I'm focusing in on these things for today but I have a much better appreciation, I think, of CBC than it -- I'm maybe sounding like.
11128 I love CBC. It's great. I think in Saskatchewan CBC, there is a lot of things that they're doing very well on not much money. But for today I had to emphasize these points.
11129 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I appreciate that. Obviously we're here for the CBC for the CBC renewal, the question you know -- but the CBC does operate within a broader broadcasting system. So I just wanted to see what your perspective was on all that.
11130 You've been very helpful and a very passionate advocate for the arts and culture on CBC and in the broader Canadian broadcasting system. So thank you for your participation.
11131 MS BAKER: Well, it's a very important part.
11132 THE CHAIRPERSON: Absolutely.
11133 MS BAKER: Thank you.
11134 THE CHAIRPERSON: And thank you for participating in our hearing. It enriches our deliberations. Thank you.
11135 MS BAKER: You're most welcome. Thank you.
11136 THE CHAIRPERSON: So Madam Secretary, the next intervenor, please.
11137 THE SECRETARY: Yes. We will now connect to Vancouver.
11138 THE SECRETARY: Perfect.
11139 Hi. Can you hear us well, Mr. Schuetze?
11140 MR. SCHUETZE: Yes. Yes, I can hear you.
11141 THE SECRETARY: Hi, how are you?
11142 MR. SCHUETZE: Thank you, very well.
11143 THE SECRETARY: Perfect.
11144 So now you can start your presentation. You have five minutes.
11145 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, it's Jean-Pierre Blais. I'm the Chair of the Commission. All the Commissioners are here and we're listening to you and we hear you quite well. Thank you. Go ahead.
11146 MR. SCHUETZE: Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, I appreciate to be heard at this hearing. I believe that this is a very important cause and I'm happy as a private person and with no particular commercial or business interests to be heard.
11147 Let me introduce myself at the beginning.
11148 I'm Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia. My principal field of research in teaching was educational research and educational policy, especially post-secondary educational training, not just with regard to economic development and international competitiveness which seems to be a major focus now, but also with regard to civic and democratic and multicultural society.
11149 My students were graduate students, master students and doctoral students. About one-third to one-half of them were foreign students. Many of them became immigrants to Canada afterwards.
11150 Canada is recognized worldwide as a leader in integrating immigrants from many backgrounds into society and living peacefully in a multicultural -- that is, a multi-ethnic, multi-faced society.
11151 What are the factors of this successful integration that many other countries, including the country I come from originally, Germany, tried to emulate?
11152 My own immigrant experience tells me that public broadcasting is playing a major role.
11153 I arrived in Canada more than 20 years ago with a family of four children between four and 12 years of age at the time, who were born in France and in Germany respectively.
11154 Two decades later, we are all Canadians both legally and culturally. The two of our children who are married chose Canadian spouses both from immigrant families themselves.
11155 There are several factors and influences that help new immigrants to learn about their new environment and culture. The schools are important for children and the workplace for adults, probably the most influential environments to learn about the civic foundations, the cultural fabric and the social codes of Canadian society.
11156 Membership in voluntary associations, for example, sports clubs, churches, community and charitable organizations is another strong influence.
11157 For me and my family the third most influential factor after school and the workplace of becoming Canadians were the media, newspapers as well as radio and TV, especially for the children growing up in a new country and culture including a new linguistic environment.
11158 The role of broadcasting was significant. It was through listening to the radio and watching TV that we learned about the various essence of Canadian culture and civic life which we eventually internalized and appropriated.
11159 Moreover, we learned and soon used ourselves colloquial language and specific Canadian ways of communicating in our new language, English. It was through this exposure to Canadian radio and TV programs that all family members became increasingly at ease with communicating in the English language not just when talking with neighbours, classmates and colleagues but among ourselves as a family.
11160 Although in Vancouver there are many radio stations and several non-public TV stations, we were mostly relying on the CBC. For us coming to Canada from Germany where broadcasting was seen primarily as a public function in order to guarantee a broad spectrum of voices and independence or freedom from commercial interests and special advertisement, the CBC was a natural choice.
11161 Moreover, we knew in Europe the BBC and we knew that especially the BBC world service had the reputation in Europe of being stellar journalism that was largely free from the influence of political -- particular political and commercial interests.
11162 We were therefore very happy coming to Canada and finding that there was a public broadcaster, the CBC, which was modelled after the BBC.
11163 I'm aware that higher quality newscasts and cultural programs are not for free but expensive. Britain and Canada are relying on general revenues from taxation for financing the BBC and the CBC which, in my view, is the most appropriate and fairest way of paying for public service, much as the public school system.
11164 Even if not everybody is listening to the radio or viewing public television, the benefit is to the whole society, much as the cultural and social cohesion is through public schooling or security is through the Armed Forces.
11165 After 21 years in Canada I am a Canadian and I feel like a Canadian. Now semi-retired and with grownup children who have left the house to establish their own households, I have more time to pursue my cultural interests, especially classical music and modern jazz, theatre and opera, but also to follow more actively programs on civic and political issues.
11166 It is therefore even more important for me personally to have the CBC as a public broadcaster, a well informed and objective voice and provider of high quality entertainment.
11167 In sum, I believe that the CBC as an independent organization that provides high quality information, civic debate and cultural content, has been most influential and important for me and my family to become Canadians.
11168 And I should extend that with respect to my students, many of whom, as I mentioned before, were foreigners and were new to Canada. I have always recommended that they should not only stick and hang out with their own compatriots but open up to Canada and Canadian society and by improving their English understanding of Canada by listening and viewing CBC programs.
11169 My second point is a public broadcaster should be free and must be seen as independent from special interests, especially commercial interests. Therefore, I think that any advertisement -- advertising on these programs is at least impairing that appearance of being an independent broadcaster.
11170 It is especially important that the many threads and facets of Canadian culture must be shown and reflected by strong and independent public broadcasters, not just by stations dependent on private advertisement and subject to undue influence by private corporations and political and religious groups.
11171 So that in a nutshell is my point I wanted to make: The importance of this public broadcaster to immigrants like myself and my family and my students.
11172 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you very much for those comments.
11173 The Vice-Chair of Broadcasting will have some questions for you.
11174 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Thank you, Mr. Schuetze. Am I pronouncing it correctly?
11175 MR. SCHUETZE: No, it is Schuetze.
11176 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Oh, because I'm just reading the way you sound Schuetze.
11177 MR. SCHUETZE: Yes, Schuetze.
11178 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Schuetze. Well, we can't all have sort of simple monosyllabic names, easy to pronounce. There is my own. You'll forgive me.
11179 We certainly -- well, there is a lot of points that we all can agree on. One, that we're very blessed to find ourselves in this great country either by birth or immigration. I think we're all very lucky to live here.
11180 I think that we can all agree with, the people on this panel and certainly the administration at Radio Canada/CBC.
11181 Would you, if we had -- you know my colleagues have spoken about choices previously and we -- unfortunately, CBC seems to be in a position where they have to make choices. Am I to understand that the news division is of particular importance to you and has been to your family and your friends over the years?
11182 MR. SCHUETZE: I don't think that they are more important than the cultural programs. I think both were -- you know sort of contributed to our becoming Canadians, understanding Canadian society and civilization and to get integrated.
11183 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Would you also agree that sort of things have changed since you may have immigrated to this country or my parents may have immigrated to this country and that there are many more sources today that we can tap into to integrate, to learn, as you mentioned the colloquialisms of the language and the culture, than there may have been in the fifties or sixties that sort of post-war wave of immigration to Canada?
11184 MR. SCHUETZE: Well, that's certainly true. That's certainly true. I came 20 years ago and even then in the last 20 years many things have changed.
11185 But I can tell you from my experience as a university teacher that not all these different sources are of the same value in terms of being accurate and being balanced.
11186 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Or quality, yeah.
11187 MR. SCHUETZE: We have now to teach our students, even brighter students as to question their sources. That is one thing that I always, you know, found so convincing of public programming is that you did not have to do that. Here was an independent body with top-rated journalists and programmers and you didn't have to question that.
11188 Obviously, I mean, if there is a political debate you have to question a little bit the different sides of the debates but that is one of the basic, I think, reasons why an independent broadcaster is so important.
11189 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And does the fact that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has to rely almost for half of their revenues on advertising revenues, does that change the quality, do you think or does that -- how does that impact your impressions of the public broadcaster, if you will?
11190 MR. SCHUETZE: Well, I think there are other ways of financing public broadcasting. I mean, in Canada when public funds were cut, advertisement was introduced.
11191 Now, there are other models. I mean, the Americans have the PBS which relies on foundations, on contributions from independent viewers. There is the -- well, you are certainly aware of that.
11192 I mean in Germany everybody who has a TV or a radio in the house has to pay a fee. So it's collected by an independent agency.
11193 So I believe there are other models than just saying, okay, we cut -- we have to cut public funds. But we can make up for that with advertisement and especially, I believe, that it's wrong in any programs that air to young people who are impressionable by these advertisements more than adults probably.
11194 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Right.
11195 There are obviously different models, as you mentioned. And in the Canadian context is there a model that you would promote?
11196 MR. SCHUETZE: Well, I think we should look into the PBS model, I mean, which relies for, I think, 85 percent of its financing on charitable foundations and on viewers' contributions and only for a small amount, 15 percent, I believe, on public funding.
11197 So I think there are other things right in front of our doorstep but also overseas on how public broadcasting can be financed.
11198 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yeah, it's obviously a highly philosophical debate.
11199 But when you talk about foundations and charitable contributions there seems to be a limit. The pie only has a certain size and if public broadcasters as an example were to enter that field that would leave fewer funds for other charities.
11200 Would you be troubled at all by the impact that that may have on other charitable organizations?
11201 MR. SCHUETZE: Well, I haven't really given that particular thought. I mean I think that -- you are suggesting that in America there is more money in foundations so there is no impact on other charitable causes because some of these foundations give money to the PBS?
11202 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I don't know what happened when PBS first started raising money for this particular cause, but in Canada that just hasn't sort of been the tradition with the public broadcaster.
11203 And the funds available through charitable contributions and foundations are not unlimited so you would have to tax the funds. Now, I don't like the word tax but you would have to dig into funds that are already available. Consequently, there would be fewer funds available for other charitable organizations.
11204 MR. SCHUETZE: Yeah. But I mean that -- I mean that begs the question is there sort of a fixed sort of amount of money, you know, available for charitable causes?
11205 Also, the PBS if you -- I'm sure you are more familiar with the details than I am. PBS does not only collect money from charitable foundations but also from private corporations. The only difference is that they are not allowed to do any advertising in their programs.
11206 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yeah, they have the sponsorship model.
11207 But would I be correct in believing that perhaps the public broadcaster would be able to tap into other sources of funding, corporate and charitable that would not otherwise contribute to charitable organizations?
11208 MR. SCHUETZE: Well, I'm not -- as you gather -- I'm not like, an expert on financing of broadcasting.
11209 I just give these examples because I lived in the United States for a couple of years as a student and I lived in Germany for many of my adult years. I know that there is public broadcasting there that is of the quality of the CBC. Yet, it is not entirely financed by taxpayers' money.
11210 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yeah, it certainly is. There is also --
11211 MR. SCHUETZE: Yeah.
11212 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUTAS: There is also a lot of Canadian taxpayer dollars that go into financing public broadcasting in the States as well through the border stations, as I'm sure you're familiar.
11213 MR. SCHUETZE: Well, I mean, as we saw from the Presidential debate recently, we know that you know that the amounts that one of the candidates suggested to cut were really not that important compared to the whole budget of the PBS.
11214 So it looked even, to me, even more questionable these suggestions.
11215 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yeah.
11216 MR. SCHUETZE: But I'm not an American and I'm not sort of trying to comment on American politics.
11217 I just say -- I mean there is more than this alternative public funding for the taxpayer and private advertisement. I think there are other options.
11218 I think if there is a problem with the financing, and obviously there is one, then I think there should be a debate on alternative options.
11219 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yeah.
11220 MR. SCHUETZE: That could guarantee an independent -- independent from commercial interests, public broadcaster.
11221 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Well, and we thank you for introducing that debate. I think there are other models around the world that we could certainly look at and draw from. There is nothing wrong with that.
11222 So thank you so much. I know it's late Friday. Thank you for participating.
11223 MR. SCHUETZE: You're welcome.
11224 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's probably not as late in Vancouver as it is here in Gatineau, but that's all relevant, I guess.
11225 Thank you very much for participating. We want to thank you.
11226 You know, one of the challenges we have, we get a lot of people who will send us written comments and that's very great for our deliberations, but it's even more enriching to be able to have a conversation with Canadians that benefit from the broadcasting system. So thank you very much for participating in our hearing today.
11227 MR. SCHUETZE: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
11228 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
11229 So that does it for us today. We will adjourn until 8:30 Monday morning.
11230 It's a long day Monday. We have a lot of interveners planned. But I hope everyone uses the weekend to rest up and come back full of energy on Monday morning at 8:30.
11231 Merci. Donc, nous sommes ajournés jusqu'à 8 h 30 lundi matin. Merci. Bon week-end.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1647 to resume on Monday, November 26, 2012 at 0830
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