TVN Files Appeal with Canada's Cabinet
January 18, 2006
Clerk of the Privy Council,
An appeal to The Government of Canada Cabinet by TVN Niagara Inc. application 2003-1498-0 to the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission. (CRTC), for a license application approval for an English Language Television Station to be located in Niagara, Ontario, Canada, CRTC Decision 2005-544. The full application may be viewed online by hyperlink at
The CRTC decision 2005-544 is attached.
- On October 2003 TVN Niagara Inc. applied to the CRTC to create an English language TV Broadcasting Station to serve the primary region of Niagara Ontario, a distinct region of Canada, representing a population of 420,000 persons. (Source, Statistics Canada.).
- This application complied fully with the requirements of the Broadcasting Act of Parliament 1991. The Company TVN Niagara Inc. was a special purpose Company, duly owned and controlled, as required by Canadian citizens. This company had no holdings of any kind in Canadian media. The Board of Directors of the Corporation consisted of distinguished citizens, and the majority of the Board was comprised of citizens resident in Niagara, the central core market to be served.
- TVN Niagara Inc. filed financial proof in the manner prescribed by the CRTC that the company had $21,000,000 available, including $10,400,000 in equity from shareholders. The financial plan submitted to the CRTC for a 7 year period showed the corporation had unassigned credit of $7,000,000 available as “contingency” funding.
- The application was supported in writing by every elected official in Niagara, including 130 local Mayors and Councillors from every one of the twelve Cities and Municipalities and from the Regional Government of Niagara, as well as every Member of Parliament, every member of the Legislature of Ontario from Niagara, and from every major social, cultural, business organization in Niagara, representing over 8000 registered Corporations and hundreds of Niagara Citizens. A full audio visual summary of this support was presented to the Commission at Public Hearings held in Niagara Falls, Ontario on June 6th 2005. This HDTV video may be viewed by hyperlink at www.tvn.ca
- The application was the first ever for a Canadian HDTV station. All programming planned was to be delivered in HDTV. Canadians who were not capable of viewing HDTV were to be served with a duplicate analog transmission on channel 22, cleared for TVN use by Industry Canada.
- The programming of the station complied to the letter to CRTC guidelines and regulations and new regional Canadian program plans called for a minimum of 34.5 hours per week of original HDTV Niagara programming to be created by 95 fulltime TVN personnel and Niagara regional independent producers, including the aboriginal people of Niagara from the great Iroquois nation of the Six Nations of Grand River, that played such an integral part in creating Canada. TVN Senior Managers have had a collective experience of over 350 years of senior management and program production experience. TVN personnel have delivered award winning TV programming to the CBC, CTV, Global, and TV stations and specialty stations nationwide and around the world. TVN managers have successfully started up new TV stations in Toronto and Edmonton. TVN engineers created Canada's first all digital mobile TV unit. It should be noted that not one Canadian TV station in Canada is creating 100% HDTV local or regional programming origination. Most of the HDTV transmissions in Canada are of programming produced in the USA. The CRTC has provided no leadership policy for the introduction of digital HDTV in Canada. In this regard TVN Niagara would have become a national leader in HDTV.
- The CRTC Public Hearings transcripts show that the TVN application was dealt with over a process that began at 9:30 a.m. and concluded at 9:48 p.m. in an arduous but fair Hearing, held in a room where the air conditioning failed; yet 250 interested Niagara citizens stayed the course.
- A portion of the Public Hearing heard interveners, all of whom were supportive of TVN Niagara Inc. except the interventions filed and supported by delegations from the existing licensees of Television Broadcast Stations located in Toronto and Hamilton. These TV station operators are not simply local stations in Toronto-Hamilton. The owners are media conglomerates, who combined; own over 95% of all commercial over-the-air broadcast TV stations in Canada. They own every private TV Network, including CTV and Global TV and a Network of stations nationwide called CH TV. Another major group is identified nationally in Canada as CITY-TV, and a sub group of station called The “A” Channel outlets. One negative intervener also owns the TVA network, the largest and most successful private French language TV Network in Canada, and finally yet another negative intervener from Toronto owns control of Quatre Saisons, the other Quebec based French language commercial TV network, opposed our entry to the TV system.
- The opposing conglomerates also own all of the largest mass circulation dailies in Canada, including the National Post, Southam Newspapers, Sun Publishing, and the Globe and Mail. A pending CRTC applicant TORSTAR is asking CRTC for permission to become a 20% owner of Bell Globemedia. Quebecor, who own SUN TV, and the Sun Newspaper Group in Canada also owns the largest printing company in Canada. ROGERS owns 2 multilingual TV stations in Toronto, plus a myriad of publishing enterprises, such as McLean's Magazine, Canada's largest mass circulation magazine, not to mention over 50 radio stations, and a host of Canada's most watched specialty channels, Rogers Sportsnet channels and another web of community and specialty channels, and Canada's largest Cable network, plus a leading telecommunications network.
- Attached please find Charts-Source CRTC, that describes, who the local TV licensees are in Toronto really are.
- The Corporate ownership Charts are for CHUM Limited, owners of CITY-TV and the “A” Channel in Barrie Ontario, Bell Globemedia, owners of CTV Network and their wholly owned affiliates CFTO-TV Toronto, and CKCO-TV Kitchener, ROGERS Media, who own OMNI ONE and OMNI TWO, two multilingual channels based in Toronto, CanWest Media Works who own the GLOBAL TV Network that reaches all of Ontario and CH Hamilton that reaches all of Ontario, and finally Quebecor who own “SUN-TV” Toronto. You see by the charts that their collective ownership covers most of the ownership of mass media in Canada. All of them are opposed to competition and all of them colluded to prevent competition from TVN Niagara Inc.
- Only the CRTC was in a position to act in the public interest and to uphold the Laws of Canada as expressed in The Broadcast Act of 1991 passed by the Parliament of Canada. So market #12 out of 44 in Canada serviced by 144 English language TV stations is “denied” its rights.
- The Competition Act of Parliament does not prevent Broadcasters to collude to prevent competition in Canada. In most other industry in Canada, the Combines Investigation Group, acting for the Competition Act of Parliament would investigate and prevent corporations in monopoly positions of ownership and control of a single industrial sector from lessening open competition. In this case, all of the Cable Distribution Undertakings (BDUs) in Canada all licensed by the CRTC, colluded and admit in writing that they met to create a series of briefs to block TVN Niagara Inc. from being to carried by the BDUs. TVN, if it was licensed by the CRTC, according to the provisions of the Broadcast Act and CRTC published rules and directives was a “must carry” service which the conglomerates objected to. Their interventions are available to be viewed at the CRTC website at www.crtc.gc.ca as is the transcript of the Public Hearing of June 6th, 2005 in Niagara Falls.
- ROGERS, the largest Cable Broadcast Distributor in Canada, who also own twenty-eight percent of COGECO the third largest cable operator in Canada have a clear conflict of interest as they also own the limit of two TV stations in Toronto, and is so vertically integrated in cross media ownership in Canada, that all objectivity is lost. Only a regulator can correct these obvious conflicts. It is the belief of TVN Niagara Inc. that the CRTC failed to act in the Public Interest in concluding and denying TVN Niagara a license to operate a TV broadcasting enterprise for the reasons stated in the CRTC decision 2005-544.
- The fundamental conclusion reached by the CRTC in item #32 of their decision states “the Commission is concerned that the introduction of a new competitor in the Toronto extended market could compromise the ability of the existing television stations to fulfill their programming commitments” and “denies the application by TVN Niagara Inc. for a broadcasting license to operate an English language commercial undertaking in St Catharines (Niagara) Ontario”.
- TVN Niagara submits for consideration these facts, which when taken together, represent sufficient reason to have the CRTC to re-hear Niagara's over-riding need to be included in the Canadian TV Broadcast system, whose very primary purpose, which, defined by Federal Law, is to reflect the diverse regions of Canada, one to the other. These companies described, colluded to prevent achievement of that objective, and the CRTC opted to protect the conglomerates from competition instead of representing the interests of over 400,000 underserved Canadians.
- Whereas, according to the Broadcast Act, it specifically states that the Canadian broadcasting system should:
- Serve to safeguard, enrich and strengthen the cultural, political, social and economic fabric of Canada. The Act does not say “except Niagara”.
- Encourage the development of Canadian expression by providing a wide range of programming that reflects Canadian attitudes, opinions, ideas, values and artistic creativity, by displaying Canadian talent in entertainment programming and by offering information and analysis concerning Canada and other countries from a Canadian point of view. The Act does not say “except Niagara”.
- Through its programming and the employment opportunities arising out of its operations, serve the needs and interests, and reflect the needs and circumstances and aspirations of Canadian men, women, and children, including equal rights, the linguistic duality, and multi-cultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society, and the special place of aboriginal peoples within that society. The Act does not say “except Niagara”. Aboriginals serve on our Board and are owners.
- The programming provided by the Canadian broadcasting system should be drawn from local, regional sources. We agree, and this is where the CRTC erred totally by eliminating Niagara from having its TV voice in Canada.
- The very purpose of the Act is totally destroyed by the CRTC decision to not allow Niagara to have a voice to connect themselves to each other and to their neighbors as expressly required in the Broadcast Act. TVN includes Aboriginals in ownership and programming, and programming in the French language, in recognition of having an officially bilingual City in Welland, and TVN represented our Niagara multicultural realities in its programming submission.
- The CRTC said that the conglomerates in Toronto need all the cash, so Niagara is “denied” in its bid to have a voice. That is discriminatory and unconstitutional and Cabinet of the Government of Canada should take a stand to overturn this miscarriage of process, that so abuses the rights of over 420,000 Canadians. The very Canadians whose ancestors shed much blood, including the very aboriginals that helped create Canada in pivotal battles that formed the first Government in Canada, are told by the CRTC; “Denied”. If there ever was a clear case of having a quasi-judicial decision overturned by natural justice and fair play, this decision should be simple. The CRTC cannot trample on rights that are fundamental and guaranteed by the Constitution Act. We respectfully submit that Cabinet should overturn this unjust decision.
- The CRTC says that competition for the existing licensees would be too severe if Niagara adds its voice to the system. In 2004-2005 this same CRTC licensed dozens of “specialty channels” and 15 new foreign channels, six of them, including channels from Russia, Hong Kong, and Pakistan, a week after denying TVN a license. Niagarans do not deny that multicultural voices be added to the Canadian system. Niagara does not mind if the CRTC adds channels for gay Canadians, and sex channels. It draws the line from being eliminated by the decree of a group of unelected political appointees infringing on their Constitutional rights.
- The Broadcast Act goes on to say that TV must “reflect Canada's regions”. The Act states that “distribution undertakings, (Cable, Satellite delivery services) should give priority to the carriage of Canadian programming services and in particular, to the carriage of local stations.” TVN submits to cabinet, that the vertically owned Cable, Broadcast, Satellite systems are all co-mingled and that the carriers collude to protect the interests of their own services; witness the priority given by Rogers, the country's largest Cable operator in carriage of their own owned and operated channels. The conflicts of interest are glaring and pronounced, and in matters of competition, the CRTC should not allow monopoly controlled systems to thwart the provisions of the Act. The Competition Act should now investigate, through the Combines Investigation Branch, the ownership structure and monopoly collusion to prevent competition that now is so totally out of control under the supervision of the CRTC.
- TVN Niagara Inc. hereby asks the Cabinet to investigate the TVN conclusion, that some CRTC commissioners who heard our application for a license in Niagara Falls Canada on June 6th, 2005, may have not refrained from personal and/or professional contact with the regulatory fulltime staff/lobbyists employed by the corporate interveners aforementioned; the conglomerates who colluded to keep Niagara out of “their” system. Social meetings and meetings with several of the fulltime staff who were also interveners at our Public Hearings may have taken place with the conglomerate representatives, and CRTC commissioners before the CRTC decision announced publicly, denying TVN to deliver service to Niagara on November 18, 2005. The CRTC decision may have been tainted by off the record meetings with the intervener's representatives and the voting CRTC commissioners.
- Specifically, the Cabinet should forbid any contact with the quasi-judicial decision makers in any other forum except at a “Public Hearing”. In no instance should a lobbyist/regulatory affairs officer, or senior management staff representative, or any hired consultant of any corporation that has a CRTC decision pending, be allowed to meet to influence a CRTC decision-maker, unless it is in a public forum, where official transcripts of the meeting are available to the public.
- The Broadcast Act regulatory policy states: “the Canadian broadcasting system should be regulated and supervised in a flexible manner and must take into account regional needs and concerns.” In the CRTC decision, item # 34 stated that the only Canadian station who had an obligation to service Niagara, CH in Hamilton had failed to adequately satisfy Niagara, from the output of one reporter who lives in New York State. The CRTC, as a result of our bid, has now ordered CH to report monthly on increasing Niagara presence on CH. This is a dramatic slap in the face to our creativity and commitment and independent research which proved that Niagara was underserved. TVN Niagara Inc. paid out over $1,400,000 to make the CRTC bid. It took a year of intense research and a full two years for the CRTC to process this application. To use our intellectual property to strengthen a competitor is a betrayal of trust.
- The application filed on October 23 2003 reflected in its 1600 page submission the market reality known at that time. When we finally get a Public Hearing almost two years later, the CRTC states that TV revenue from advertisers is declining.
First of all, that is simply not true. Advertising expenditures in Canada are now over $12,000,000,000 annually and 2003 saw the most profitable year in 20 years in commercial TV with the largest single year profit gain in history. TVN made its bid in 2003. The conglomerates not only captured the 2 billion dollars from their national TV monopolies, they also collected record profits from their specialty channels licensed by the CRTC. CHUM Limited, for instance owns 21 of these specialty channels. Bell Globemedia, Quebecor, CanWest Media Works, and Rogers are Canada's largest and most profitable “specialty channel” owners. Pay/Specialty channels earned another $2,000,000,000. The CRTC seems to deny this in their Niagara decision and never mentions that the Toronto TV stations they are protecting are actually huge conglomerates. What would make CH Hamilton perform better? Competition! Niagarans are awed by the hundreds of billboards advertising CH TV that sprung up weeks before the CRTC decision was made to deny TVN a license. Is it a coincidence that CH actually started to re-discover Niagara with some token on air efforts, just before the CRTC decision was announced? We don't think so. There is evidence that the CRTC ordered CH to increase Niagara programming reflection, prior to the CRTC announcement denying a license to TVN.
- The conglomerates knew the Broadcast Act specifically says “Broadcast distribution systems (ROGERS, COGECO, and BELL ExpressVu) are required to carry any licensee, and are to give priority to the carriage of broadcasting.” (i.e. TVN Niagara). That is why the conglomerates moved to protect their myriad specialty network and regional stations and vertically integrated empire from competition.
- The collusion TVN now claims is possibly even more serious than the CRTC denial of Niagara. Although this story could be of interest to many Canadians, certainly Torontonians; no newspaper north of Lake Ontario, none of the conglomerate owned publications, including the National Post, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Sun, or even the Toronto Star have ever written a word about this sad chapter in CRTC history, despite the fact that many writers and columnists have been contacted directly to take an objective journalistic look at this issue.
- Now Canada will hear an application to add the Toronto Star to the ownership conglomerate mix as TORSTAR purchases 20% ownership of Bell Globemedia with Lord Thomson buying 40%, effectively changing control of Bell Globemedia. Canada loses one more independent voice. Will TORSTAR do as the other newspapers have done, and ignore stories that might make the owners interests come into question? Would TORSTAR ever publish a negative story about The Globe and Mail or CTV, or Bell, or the massive holding's of Lord Thomson? If the journalistic practices of the other national dailies are any example, we all should fear these continuing mergers that see a concentration of ownership that sees the voices of Canada shrink, and fair commentary about media disappear.
- TORSTAR has already been similarly savaged by a very bad CRTC decision, when they were turned down in a bid to create new TV Stations in Hamilton, Kitchener, and Toronto in 2002. The multi million dollar bid would have created an 85% Canadian Content system. The CRTC opted for a much smaller, under-financed bid to deliver only 14.5 hours Canadian prime time commitment and this station, Toronto One, went into eclipse as a business in less than six months. The genius of the CRTC cannot be trusted. They simply do not understand this business. We attach a story written in 2002 regarding TORSTAR and the CRTC written by Antonia Zerbisias, the applicant chosen by the CRTC, failed dismally.
- None of the Commissioners have managed TV broadcast stations, and none of them have produced commercial television programs; yet they question seasoned professionals for hours about the minutia of the business. We broadcasters are forced to a kindergarten approach at Public Hearings so as not to confuse these amateurs. A great irony is that CRTC Chair Dalfen was the lawyer who worked for TORSTAR and could not participate in the Public Hearing that saw his former client rebuffed by his new colleagues.
- Another example of the CRTC inability to understand the dynamics of the TV business relates to a TVN plan to run Classic Movies from the Turner Classic Movie channel in the USA. Even before the CRTC heard our pitch at the Public Hearings the CRTC allowed Turner Network Classics to be added to its Pay-TV menu on cable and satellite TV in Canada. The CRTC denied TVN to carry Classic Movies but they allowed the 100% importation of the whole Turner Network owned by Time-Warner in the USA. Is this strengthening the Canadian TV system? ROGERS, Bell ExpressVu, Shaw Cable and their satellite system Star Choice win and Canada's TV system has another foreign competitor. The losers? As is usual the little voices like TVN, held in contempt by the CRTC and the conglomerates. Playing in a game that is a monopoly protected by a branch of Government is not representative of a level playing field. A Canadian newcomer would have more chance getting on the air in Canada from the USA than from a Canada station.
- Cabinet should be concerned. Canada's Senate has held Public Hearings for over a year on Canada's concentrated media ownership and practices. The Parliamentary Committee headed by Clifford Lincoln M.P. articulated and recommended many steps be taken to prevent the kind of abuses we are identifying as being real, and of being very dangerous to true democracy. Freedom of the press and other media really is in serious decline in Canada, and only our Government can protect Canadians from improper behavior.
- The market must decide who succeeds and who fails. Let the weak die and the best survive. The CRTC has no qualification and has failed dismally to lead Canada to have a system that is predominantly Canadian. Most of our 500 channel universe features United States of America producers, and these producers get 70% of all programming money spent by Canadian stations. We view too little Canadian TV, and the outstanding Canadian programming produced by the conglomerates is failing to capture the hearts and minds of Canadians. The top 25 programs watched in Canada are not the productions of these protected species.
- The Government has also been providing cash subsidies from taxpayers of Canada in the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, to these same companies the CRTC is protecting from competition. The Government cultural policy of providing government cash to Canadian commercial TV stations is not working and this failed policy is in drastic need of overhaul.
The CRTC is misleading Canadians, and overstepping their authority. We beg the Cabinet to investigate and reverse their follies. The CRTC should not protect the conglomerates from competition. The CRTC is to build Canadian cultural strength, not weaken Canadian voices. The CRTC utters lofty announcements and declares noble intentions but does the opposite in practice. Let us give examples. The CRTC implemented new policies in a document called 1999-97.
Here are a few excerpts of this new policy:
- The CRTC concluded that the fundamentals of the private television system are sound.
- The TV industry is successful in terms of viewer satisfaction and quality product. It is also a financial success, with profits rising substantially. Notably conventional TV (as TVN proposed) remains profitable in spite of the introduction of new conventional, pay and specialty services.
- The CRTC says “the keys to success are the creative talent and business acumen of those individuals who build dynamic businesses based on the quality programming that Canadians enjoy.”
- The CRTC lays out the five principles as we move into a new century. These five principles are quality programming Canadians will watch, reflecting the diversity of Canada's peoples and regions; economic success, regulation only where the Broadcasts Act cannot be met by other means, and a regulatory system that is clear and easy to administer.
- The tenants of this new framework are to have broadcasters provide a “greater diversity of Canadian information and entertainment programming.” The CRTC said “this requires local and regional reflection whether through news or non news programming.”
- The CRTC concluded “It seems clear that conventional television (like TVN Niagara.) will remain the cornerstone of essential support of the Canadian television broadcasting system.”
This quote tops the list of CRTC policy pronouncements:
“THE COMMISSION WISHES TO ENCOURAGE SUCH DISTINCTIVENESS AND PROVIDE THE SMALLER PLAYERS IN THE SYSTEM WITH THE FLEXIBILITY TO EXPIREMENT WITH NEW GENRES OF CANADIAN PROGRAMMING AND NEW WAYS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THEIR AUDIENCES.”
- Then the CRTC said “THERE IS A NEED TO BETTER REFLECTION IN PEAK TIME PROGRAMMING, FROM THE DIFFERENT REGIONS OF THE COUNTRY. THE COMMISSION WISHES TO ENCOURAGE THE PRODUCTION OF REGIONAL PROGRAMS.
- THE COMMISSION BELIEVES THAT THE AUDIENCES HAVE A STRONG DESIRE AND A BETTER REFLECTION OF CANADA'S REGIONS AS A WHOLE, RATHER THAN HAVE DOMINATION FROM TORONTO, MONTREAL, AND VANCOUVER”.
- So this theme plays out and concludes that new TV services were to “reflect the particular concerns of the local audiences.”
- “The Commission's policy of requiring the provision of local programming in order to access local advertising remains in effect.”
All of this lofty prose was abandoned in considering the demonstrably underserved region of Niagara. Even though huge independently gathered market surveys proved beyond the shadow of doubt, that the population and the advertisers were excited, and supportive of the plans submitted to the CRTC by TVN Niagara Inc, the CRTC said “Denied.”
Every policy enunciation of the CRTC was abandoned in its Niagara decision.
- Now we wish to provide for your consideration excerpts from speeches made by CRTC Chair Charles Dalfen. This is not intended as a personal criticism of Mr. Dalfen. Although he is Chair, he only has one vote when considering matters such as the TVN application. We believe Mr. Dalfen to be a sincere professional. Yet the evidence we provide shows serious concern that there is sufficient weight of office to support his public utterances.
- Two of the Commissioners on the Niagara panel were attending their first CRTC Hearings. Commissioner Cram from Regina, a veteran, is a Regina lawyer. The irony is that Regina, a smaller region than Niagara has three local TV Stations. Commissioner Langford, another veteran Commissioner showed verbal sympathy to Niagara and TVN, in reviewing his remarks of the Hearing transcripts. The speeches of Charles Dalfen, we at TVN thought, reflected CRTC policy. Apparently we were sadly mistaken or we simply misunderstand his statements. Look at these stunning examples.
- In a speech to the Standing Committee on Transportation and Communications of the Senate of Canada on September 25 2003 said “the CRTC was attempting to prevent a reduction in the number of sources of news and information available to Canadians.” He said “we have also been quite active in trying to increase the diversity of voices in the Canadian broadcast system.” He noted “Over the past five years we have licensed five new television stations and 35 radio services across Canada and over 100 specialty channels.”
- In a speech on May 15 2003 in Kelowna B.C. to the B.C Association of Broadcasters, Mr. Dalfen said “Local programming is the reason for your being. The local flavor is something the Commission strongly believes in, and we want to see you succeed.” (Kelowna, with two local stations is a fraction of the size of Niagara).
- On April 26 2003 in Halifax (where there are 3 local stations in a region smaller than Niagara) Mr. Dalfen said in a speech to a Media Council of a major Union “the Commission has always seen local reflection as a key aspect of TV broadcasting. In our 1999 policy we maintained our KEYSTONE PRINCIPLE that requires that any station that wants to sell local advertising to provide local programming.” He also confessed that local spending had declined to 33% of total program spending in 2002. Today, in 2005 the number has declined further to 30%. TVN Niagara proposed to spend 70% of its total program budgets on Canadian content, 40% better than the conglomerates in Toronto achieved. Mr. Dalfen said “the shrinkage was in local music, variety, local drama, and local sports. As a policy matter we are attempting to open new sources of local programming of Canadians.
- First, there should be more programming that reflects the local communities and is locally produced; and second, the opportunity to create more community programming should be made accessible to a diversity of new participants.”
- Mr. Dalfen concluded with a challenge. He said “Will local entrepreneurs and community groups come forward to create local services and local content? TIME WILL TELL!” This is either not true or the man and his Commission have dramatically changed direction. The CRTC said in the Niagara decision, they called for Niagara applicants and only TVN applied. Therefore, the CRTC concluded, the region cannot support a profitable station as the conglomerates did not apply.
- The Commission failed to point out that only one of the conglomerates, who control 95% ownership in Canada are ineligible to apply. An applicant is limited to owning two stations maximum in each market and all of the conglomerates already own two stations that cover Niagara, except Quebecor who bought a Toronto station in 2004, long after TVN filed their CRTC application. The CRTC guaranteed Quebecor they would be profitable before TVN Niagara or anyone could get a license. This is not a fair application of the Broadcast Act. OUR NIAGARA RIGHTS CANNOT BE PURCHASED LIKE A CHATTEL. WE DO NOT BELONG TO THESE CONGLOMERATES OR TO THE CRTC. WE BELONG TO CANADA AND WE ARE NOT FOR SALE.
- Mr. Dalfen said on Dec. 12 2002 in Ottawa, in another speech to Canada's Senate: “One of the most important needs is that the public be well served with a wide variety of diverse voices, while allowing an opportunity for Canadian media companies to grow and prosper in an increasingly competitive domestic and international environment.” He adds “At the same time we must be always vigilant as citizens of a democracy, to ensure that we continue to have access to a diverse range of viewpoints, so that we can be fully informed on issues of public concern that affect us, and so that we can have an effect on how these issues are dealt with and resolved.”
- On Nov. 6, 2002 in Toronto in a speech to ACTRA, the Actor's Union, about cultural diversity, Mr. Dalfen said “Canada has a unique model of citizenship, based simultaneously on diversity and mutual responsibility. The model requires deliberate efforts to connect Canadians across their differences, to link them to their history and to enable their diverse voices to participate in choosing the Canada we want.” Does this mean except for Niagara?
- On June 7, 2002 Mr. Dalfen said to a telecommunications convention, “The way I see it, the regulator's job is to open doors and ensure fairness once the doors are open. We seek to achieve a balance between the players in the industry, the need for diversity and the community values of audiences. Among the goals guiding us as we go forward is that of letting more voices be heard, a reflection of Canada's diversity. We want to encourage competition, which we believe keeps the industry healthy, drives technological innovation and creates more choice, and better service for the consumer.” Mr. Dalfen repeated that mantra word for word on four other speeches delivered in 2002 and 2003!
SO ARE ALL OF THESE PUBLIC STATEMENTS PLATITUDES? ARE THE WRITTEN POLICIES AND DIRECTIVES AND SPEECHES AND LAWS AS VALUABLE AS FISH-WRAPPING OR IS THERE INTEGRITY AND SUBSTANCE IN OUR REGULATORY SYSTEM? WHY IS THE HYPOCRICY OF THE POLICIES AND THEIR APPLICATION BEING APPLIED SO UNFAIRLY TO OVER 400,000 CANADIANS? WHY DO WE NOT COUNT AS A DISTINCT REGION OF CANADA? WHY DO WE NOT GET TO HARNESS THE MOST ADVANCED COMMUNICATIONS MEDIUM IN THE WORLD?
Here we are in Niagara, abutted to one of the most important borders on the continent, isolated and abandoned. Here we are in Niagara with an economy that requires tourists to visit us if we are to even survive economically, and we must rely on the 76% of our revenues from foreign visitors because we cannot talk to Canada every day on television, the most important and effective communications tool known to mankind. Here we remain, a region divided by distance with no medium to connect us, even to each other. Here we are a forgotten people, abused and neglected and marginalized. We are bombarded by the voices of others but we have a cone of silence imposed by a Government decree. That is both unfair and unconstitutional and frankly Un-Canadian! Niagara must be allowed to speak to Canada.
Only the Cabinet of this great nation can help Niagara to be included in Canada.
Please reverse this CRTC decision. Do not tell us we made a mistake in the War we fought and won in 1812-1814 by backing the wrong country!
We are in your hands and ask for your decision to reverse this decision. It is not losing three long years work and $1,400,000 with a Byzantine Government bureaucracy that confounds us, as much as it is the debasing of our regional rights of inclusiveness as a distinct people of Canada.
We thank you for considering that in the 500 channel universe of Television, that market number twelve in Canada will be afforded equal opportunity afforded to 44 different markets, to contribute to making Canada a better country.
Wendell G Wilks
TVN Niagara Inc.
101 King Street, Ste. 12
St Catharines Ontario,
Cc: Heritage Minister, Government of Canada
Cc: Secretary General of the CRTC