STANDING COMMITTEE ON
COMITÉ PERMANENT DU
[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]
Thursday, May 6, 1999
The Chairman (Mr. Clifford Lincoln (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.)):
I'd like to declare open the
meeting of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.
Today, we welcome witnesses from the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation. I would like to remind the members of the committee
that this hearing is being held pursuant to a letter which was sent
to us last February by Ms. Guylaine Saucier on behalf of the
Corporation. In it, she said:
As you know, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will soon have
to go before the CRTC, which during a series of unprecedented
hearings will simultaneously examine applications for the renewal
of all of the CBC's licences. You can imagine what this represents
in light of the fact that this licence renewal applies to our radio
and television services, as well as to the RDI channel and to
Newsworld. You yourselves have undertaken an in-depth review of
Canada's cultural policies within the past year.
This would be a good time for us to come before your
Committee to update your members on what we perceive
our role to be in the coming Millennium. For almost 63
years, the CBC has been in the forefront of
disseminating Canadian culture to citizens from coast
to coast. First through Radio, then through Television
and now through New Media, the CBC has pursued its
mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain its
The Committee had accepted unanimously to hear the
representatives from the CBC.
We're really pleased today to have Ms. Saucier,
chairman of the board of CBC/Radio-Canada, and Mr.
Perrin Beatty, president.
Ms. Guylaine Saucier (Chair, Board of Directors, Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation): We have with us today Mr. Michel
Tremblay, the CBC's Chief Planning Officer.
The Chairman: Thank you. You have the floor, Ms. Saucier.
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: I first want to thank you for taking the
time to listen to us. We appreciate it greatly.
There could be no more opportune time for us to come before
this committee, which is itself submitting a report to Parliament
on Canada's cultural policy in a matter of weeks. The CBC—by any
measure—is a cornerstone of our common culture, and I hope that
our discussions here today will assist this committee with its
This discussion is timely for other reasons as
well. First, the World Trade Organization is flashing
an amber warning light that many of the tools
Canada has used in the past to promote and protect
cultural sovereignty may not survive in the future.
Second, the CBC has put forward a strategic plan that
we believe will partially address the issue of cultural
sovereignty and will allow the corporation to carry out
the spirit and the letter of the 1991 Canadian
Third, with licence renewals pending and a new
direction being contemplated, it is important to
address the issue of the relationship between the
government and the CBC and between the CBC and its
Now the role the CBC plays in fostering Canadian culture is
not a tale that wants for the telling. So you will allow me to take
a somewhat different approach.
I propose to take three objectives drawn from the Canadian
Heritage portfolio itself, and compare them with the CBC's record
on the cultural front. My purpose is straightforward—to
demonstrate that the CBC is a prime instrument in fulfilling
The first portfolio objective is to enhance pride in Canada.
Many institutions contribute to this objective and the CBC
claims no monopoly here. But can it be truly said that there is any
single institution that has done more—consistently and over 6
decades—to enhance pride in Canada than the CBC?
The CBC stands as a beacon in times of crisis and in times of
By providing Canadians with familiar reference
points spanning regions, cultures and operations,
as a forum to share values and foster greater
understanding amongst ourselves. Whether we are
capturing Paul Henderson's winning goal in the Canada
Cup in 1972 or the exploits of our Olympic athletes in
successive games; whether we are serving witness to
Canadians from across the country as they help their
neighbours in the Manitoba or Saguenay floods or
using our technology to break through the isolation of
families struggling to survive last year's ice storm;
or whether we are bringing Canada Day celebrations to
every corner of the country or celebrating through
docudramas such historic achievements as the
discovery of insulin, by telling these stories, by
capturing these moments and bringing them into our
living rooms, CBC enhances our understanding of and
pride in Canada.
Now let's consider the second Heritage portfolio objective,
which is to protect Canada's heritage.
The word "heritage" means many things to many people. But it
certainly includes such legendary entertainers as Lorne Green, Anne
Murray and Louis Quilico. It includes athletes like Gordie Howe and
Maurice Richard—all brought into national consciousness by the
Heritage also includes the political, social and economic
upheavals that have defined us as a people: the Quiet Revolution,
the decline of the Newfoundland cod fishery, the rise of western
populism, the search for self-government by our indigenous peoples.
The CBC has been there to document it all, to help Canadians
understand, to be an integral part of our lives and our perception
of the characters and events that form our heritage.
We produce programs the private sector would
never consider, programs whose primary goal is to
enhance our appreciation of our heritage. Only
CBC or Radio-Canada would bring to life Canada:
A People's History, a 30-hour history series in the
works for prime-time airing. Produced in English and
French, such a project would be too ambitious and too risky
for private sector broadcasters. Neither would the private
sector provide a French-language radio service to every
region of Canada, regardless of the size of the market.
The independence of our news and information service,
as guaranteed by the Broadcasting Act, strongly
reinforces our rich heritage of freedom and democracy.
This is a very important thing to remember, especially
when the dictates of journalistic independence
occasionally generate tension with the government of
The third and final heritage portfolio objective I'll discuss
today is to ensure access to Canadian voices and Canadian spaces.
The Department of Canadian Heritage elaborates on this point
We will support the production, distribution and promotion of
Canadian content that reflects our linguistic duality and cultural
diversity; and we will foster an ongoing national cultural dialogue
That is the CBC. It is what we do every day.
The CBC is the only broadcaster to serve all regions of Canada
in both English and French. But we take our responsibility to
enrich our linguistic heritage one step further.
Consider the children's television program known in English as
"Wimzie's House" and in French as La maison de Ouimzie. It is co-
produced and simultaneously broadcast in both official languages.
It is a uniquely Canadian miracle—a shared cultural reference
point for the children of our two main language communities.
The CBC provides programming which is pan-Canadian, and will
be more so in the future. This means that we bring Canada and the
world to every region of the country, and we give every region of
Canada the chance to be heard by the others. Canada is multi-
faceted, and our public airwaves must reflect that reality.
The CBC is the only broadcaster capable of operating
right across the country in terms of production and
distribution. We broadcast in English, in French, and
in eight aboriginal languages. No other broadcaster has
the mandate, the infrastructure, or the motive to reach
all Canadians. No other broadcaster has devoted so
many resources to ensuring that Canadians see a reflection of
themselves and the rest of the world on their airwaves.
Accessible public service broadcasting is essential to
providing the critical mass required for effective
communication of Canadian culture. Sports and comedy,
drama and news, public affairs and cultural
programs—all are entitled to their place.
CBC, Radio-Canada, is that place.
Let me, then, Mr. Chairman, recap Canadian Heritage's
objectives: to enhance pride in Canada, to protect Canada's
heritage, to ensure access to Canadian voices and Canadian spaces.
These objectives reflect the hopes, dreams and aspirations of
millions of Canadians. Again, I must ask you... What other
institution has contributed as much to these objectives over the
past six decades? The conclusion is clear: if Radio-Canada/CBC did
not exist, we would have to invent it.
The good news is that Canadians have already made the
investment in building the CBC over six decades. We are an integral
part of Canadian culture and identity even as we work to enhance
The CBC is a primary instrument in achieving Heritage Canada's
objectives and a precious resource for every Canadian. Let us use
I now call upon Mr. Beatty to speak to you about our strategic
Mr. Perrin Beatty (President and Cief Executive Officer, Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation): Thank you very much,
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the
opportunity to be here.
Perhaps I can be permitted a very
personal note. This is likely my last appearance
before the committee as president of the
corporation before I step down at the end of September.
I want to
express a very personal word of thanks to you, Mr.
Chairman, and to all of your colleagues for the support
and guidance you've shown me and given
to the corporation during my tenure as president
of the corporation.
I'll say also that it's particularly appropriate
I be here at this time. I'm particularly pleased to
be able to take advantage of the opportunity to speak
about a strategic plan that will propel the CBC into
the next millennium. The plan is bold
and ambitious in scope, and I want briefly to
review its highlights.
First, we will provide programming of interest to all
Canadians. This includes sports programming, which is a significant
part of Canada's heritage, and also very much within the domain of
We will provide pan-Canadian programming. For our cultural
identity to survive, Canadians must see themselves reflected on
their airwaves. Accordingly, we must increase the number of new
voices that represent our cultural diversity in order to provide a
complete and vibrant picture of the country.
We will strengthen our distinctive presence in the
regions. As one Regina resident noted during the
recent CRTC hearings, “CBC's
Toronto building just isn't tall enough to show us much
of the rest of Canada.”
We will revitalize English
television by continuing our very successful
Canadianization campaign. I can tell you that it's
starting to work. This year, nine of the top ten
Canadian series shown on Canadian
television were in fact shown on CBC's English
An important weapon in the battle for a
healthy and independent Canadian culture is our ability
to ensure that all Canadians, but especially our
children, understand their own history and their own
We will provide Canada's premier news and
information service. Indeed, our journalistic leadership
and expertise are among CBC's greatest strengths.
We will support French language and culture right across
Canada. In a global communications environment increasingly
dominated by the English language, this role for the CBC becomes
even more imperative.
We will build bridges between French and English cultures and
communities by intensifying our efforts to produce cross-cultural
programming such as CBC Newsworld's and RDI's jointly produced
Culture Chock/Culture Choc, English radio's C'est la vie and
Anglosong on French radio.
We will champion Canada's arts and culture. The CBC is
Canada's electronic stage. Some of our most enduring
Canadian stars emerged from CBC television and radio.
With a renewed and revitalized mandate, the CBC will
continue to showcase our artists, writers, musicians
and creative talent.
We will develop a constellation
of new services to better respond to Canadians.
The CBC of tomorrow must be available to all
Canadians, wherever and whenever they
choose to consume media.
this regard, our applications for new specialty
channels last year address very real gaps in our
country's programming that need to be filled by a
We will play a leadership role in
new media and new technology. There's not a shred of
doubt that the CBC belongs, and indeed will thrive, in
this swiftly growing arena. Without our presence,
there's a very real risk of Canadian voices being
Finally, we will provide a view of Canada abroad. The closer
the world draws upon us, the more important it becomes to provide
a view of Canada beyond its borders.
These commitments will set the course for the CBC of tomorrow.
They represent targets that are ambitious, but within our grasp.
Mr. Chairman, perhaps I can conclude on a very
personal note. I came to the corporation a little over
four years ago, convinced of the importance of this
corporation in serving Canadians and building bridges
between cultures, between regions in Canada, of offering a
public broadcaster who sees its audience in the
context of not simply eyes and ears to be sold to
advertisers but also citizens. I was
convinced that it was important to have a broadcaster
where, every day, when the men and women working in it got
up in the morning, they saw their job as telling Canadian
stories in all parts of the country, promoting a sense
of tolerance and understanding in the country.
As I prepare to leave the corporation, I'm more
convinced than ever of the importance of this
corporation and of the vital role it can play in
the future of our society and our country.
need to ensure, Mr. Chairman, as we approach the next
millennium, that we have a broadcaster dedicated to
ensuring that Canadian voices and Canadian faces aren't
lost to Canadian homes. We need to ensure that there
is a broadcaster there that sets the standard for
quality and that has the determination to serve all
Canadians in the context of their roles as citizens.
That's the role this corporation plays, and it's a
role an amazing group of men and
women, those who are immensely dedicated to the country and
the people they serve, want to play going into the
As the committee considers its priorities for
strengthening and celebrating the country in the new
millennium, I'd encourage you to consider the powerful
instrument you have at your fingertips. The CBC is
here to serve the cultural aspirations of all
Canadians. Let us use it well.
An hon. member: Hear, hear.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Beatty. I
think it's a timely note on which to open to
I will start with Mr. Mark.
Mr. Inky Mark (Dauphin—Swan River, Ref.): Thank
you, Mr. Chair.
I'd certainly like to thank all of
you for being here today, for taking the time to come
before the committee.
First, I want to say that
having been part of the public hearing process in
Atlantic Canada as well as Montreal and Toronto, we
certainly heard no shortage of positive comments about
the CBC and the role it plays in this country.
My two questions are about culture and finance. To
play the devil's advocate, you've indicated to us this
morning the numerous roles CBC plays. Is there a
role for the private broadcaster in terms of culture?
I'd like to ask you what part they should be playing
within that context, knowing that we have a large
national broadcaster in this country.
question has to do with finance. What type
of financial support does the
organization expect down the road, beyond this current
relationship that's been established, over the next
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: I'll take the first one and
I'll ask Perrin to deal with the second one.
Obviously, everybody has a role to play in
Canadian culture. The difference between the private
broadcaster and the public broadcaster is the
difference in mandate.
As I said, I come from the
private sector, where we have to be
driven by the bottom line. This is how our
shareholders are evaluating the added value we are
bringing to them. Private broadcasters have to go
by this rule. You don't have any choice.
Our role is
very different. Our mandate is to bring a different
added value to our shareholders, the Canadian citizens.
It is really to be able to share values, to be a link
This is how we are going to
measure our success in the future.
want to say we are against private broadcasting,
because we are not. They do fulfil a role in the
system. But only a public broadcaster with a public
service mandate can fulfil the role to share values
in the Canadian environment.
When you look at all of
the forces at play right now in the
global environment, where you do have more and more
a globalization of culture, we need in Canada, as does
other country in the world, tools to promote our own
identity if we don't want to lose it.
I don't see a private broadcaster having French-language
services outside Quebec. It's not profitable, and it
will never be profitable. I don't see a private
broadcaster having aboriginal services in the north.
For me, this is quite important. We are the only
broadcaster who services coast to coast in the two
languages. We are the only one who can fulfil this
role of sharing values between the different
communities in Canada.
So I think for us, the
role of the public broadcaster is essential if we want
to keep this country together, if we want to share
values and keep a Canadian identity that
we will be able to share with future generations.
The Chairman: Mr. Beatty.
Mr. Perrin Beatty: Mr. Mark, I was minister
at the time the current
Broadcasting Act was proclaimed. It enshrines in it
a principle that has really been the mainstay of
Canadian government policy on communications since the
time of the founding of the CBC. That's the principle of
a mixed public-private broadcasting system.
served us well for over 60 years, and it's my strong
feeling that Canadians would be served much less well
if there weren't a strong and vibrant private sector
offering those things it can do best, offering
choice in the system, ensuring that we're vigilant in
doing our job to the best of our ability.
As well, though, I believe the system would be much
poorer if we did not also have a public broadcaster—a
public broadcaster that sets standards in journalism; a
public broadcaster that is focused on seeing people in
their role as citizens as opposed to simply people to whom
products can be sold; a public broadcaster that sees
its role as building bridges among Canadians and
fostering an intelligent and respectful dialogue among
Canadians; and a public broadcaster that showcases the
tremendous talent in this country.
Act certainly does impose on the private sector
responsibilities in terms of Canadian content, and I
hope each private broadcaster, as responsible
corporate citizens, will do their part in that. But we
happily assume a much heavier responsibility as a
public broadcaster to often do things that would not
be profitable for the private sector to do and to
showcase Canadian talent and take risks that might not
otherwise be taken. I think in so doing, we enrich
In terms of finances, you ask what we expect going
forward. We've entered into a period where our
financing has become predictable, where we know what
our appropriation will be next year, but what we are
looking for is genuinely stable funding. We start
each year with an appropriation that's essentially the
same as the previous year, but we lose out to inflation
as a consequence. That means we start each year with
less purchasing power than we had the previous year.
That's infinitely better than the position we were in a
few years ago, where there were major cuts being made to
our budget, but it still doesn't give us genuine
So the first is genuine stability in the appropriation
The second is the ability to apply to government for
projects that would not be going under our operating
Such a project would be our archives
project, which we have underway at the present time.
attempting to conserve the audiovisual heritage of
Canada. On a one-time basis, I would argue
that it is appropriate to seek support from the
Government of Canada for a project of such importance
to all Canadians.
We will not seek to have all of the
money restored that was taken out of our budget over
the course of the last several years. We're seeking to
have genuine stability.
As it relates to new services
that we're providing, we will expect the new specialty
services we've applied for to be self-sufficient.
We're doing so in
partnership with private sector partners who expect
that they will be profit-making enterprises.
CRTC is abundantly clear in saying that there will not
be cross-subsidization between our main networks and
the specialty services. This is critical for us.
Finally, we will seek to generate the moneys we need
to innovate, to improve services, and to present new
services by setting ourselves a target of a 2%
productivity improvement each year. That will
allow us, in addition to our own choosing of
priorities, to change as audiences change the way in
which they consume media, and to change
as Canadians' needs change into the
We think our request for genuine stability is
a responsible request. Allow us the flexibility to
change along with our audiences and we will do the rest
in supplying high-quality Canadian content. We will
live or die based on our ability to attract audiences
to that high-quality Canadian content.
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: Perhaps I can add something,
The Chairman: Briefly, Ms. Saucier.
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: I mentioned to you
previously that McKinsey published a study last January
called Public Service Broadcasters Around the
World, which demonstrates that having a strong
public broadcaster in the country enhances the
whole broadcasting system.
I think I will send
you a copy, if I may. It might be of interest to you.
The Chairman: Thank you very much. If you
can send it to the clerk, we'll make sure all
members get a copy. That study is very timely.
Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueil, BQ): Thank you very much,
Mr. Chairman. I would also like to thank our three witnesses. We
have met twice in two days. I am very pleased and I hope that there
will be a second round because I have many questions to ask you.
First off, I would like to tell you, if you don't already
know, that the Bloc Québécois tabled its brief with the CRTC
yesterday. We support the renewal of the main licenses for French
radio and television, etc..
But today I would like to mainly emphasize the reservations I
have and which I have already expressed to you. I want to repeat
them here, before the members of this committee.
Ms. Saucier, during your presentation, you stated:
The CBC is a primary instrument in achieving Heritage Canada's
objectives and a precious resource for every Canadian. Let us use
I would like you to be governed by this last sentence, and to
remember that the CBC was at the outset a corporation subject to
the Broadcasting Act, and not a propaganda tool for Heritage
Canada. I must admit that I have some reservations in that regard.
I think you know very well that the CBC is part of Quebec
culture and I think that Quebec contributes its fair share. What
concerns me is that even in your strategic plan I see nothing for
Quebec. In fact, we even did a little calculation on the text that
may seem innocuous to my colleagues, but the fact is that the word
Quebec appears barely five times. Just like the Department of
Canadian Heritage, the CBC seems to have trouble recognizing
Quebec's existence. I have some serious reservations about that.
It goes without saying that we cannot support you with regard
to specialty channels. As you were willing to admit and said
yesterday, the CBC is not perfect and you are ready to work to
eliminate its shortcomings. I would recommend that you improve what
you are doing at the present time, and we'll see about the rest
later. That is what we recommend in our brief.
I would like to hear your point of view on that, as well as
your version of the Milewski affair. I would like to know what
happened and how you interpret what happened with the Prime
The Chairman: Ms. Saucier.
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: As I mentioned yesterday, we are indeed
an arms length corporation, a corporation that is independent from
the government. Our mandate was entrusted to us by the Canadian
Parliament and we must discharge it to the best of our ability.
This mandate consists in promoting the Canadian identity which, in
my opinion, dovetails rather nicely with the mandate of the
Department of Canadian Heritage, so we can work in tandem.
I expect that we took on some components that originated with
Heritage Canada because they seemed to be in tune with the CBC's
objectives and not because we had received instructions to that
effect. It was the other way around, I believe. The fact remains
that it is the role of the board of directors of the CBC to ensure
that we are discharging our mandate adequately. We intend to play
that role as we should. If our mandate is in line with the
objectives of Heritage Canada, our task will be facilitated since
the major part of our funding does come from that department. We
have to be realistic, after all.
I have been in this position for four years and I have always
felt very comfortable working in this context where we receive a
mandate from Parliament and establish a strategy. We must not
forget that we are accountable to the Canadian population for the
funds that we spend. We have to strike a balance.
With your permission, I will use the Milewski affair as an
example. The government never intervened in that affair. At all
times, it followed the formal process any citizen may resort to if
he or she is not satisfied by our coverage. I was very comfortable
seeing the government use that tool—our ombudsman—rather than
making direct interventions, which it never did.
Our mandate is similar to that of the Department of Canadian
Heritage, and that seems normal to me since our roles are similar.
So, you should not be surprised if we express ourselves in similar
ways. I feel very at ease working in a system where we are at arms
length from the government and accountable for the funds we manage.
That being said, we reflect all regions of the country,
including Quebec, which occupies a lot of our space, so to speak.
We are anxious to insure that the rest of Canada is reflected in
Quebec and that Quebec is reflected to the rest of Canada. That is
part of our mandate.
Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire: It would be difficult to review the
Milewski Affair briefly. You said that Mr. Chrétien had acted as an
ordinary citizen and that you had answered him in that capacity.
But why was an answer given to him before the ombudsman made a
decision? Perhaps there are things I don't know. I expect you have
all of that at your disposal.
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: Since this concerns an internal
management process, I will ask Mr. Beatty to answer your question.
Mr. Perrin Beatty: Could you state your question specifically,
Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire: Mr. Milewski was suspended before the
ombudsman arrived at a decision on his coverage of the APEC summit.
I believe the Prime Minister had written to him as a citizen and
that he was answered as a citizen.
Mr. Perrin Beatty: Two types of issues are being raised in
connection with this situation: political issues on the one hand,
and our journalism standards on the other. Mr. Donolo raised a
question concerning the professionalism of our coverage of APEC,
and on the other hand, there is the matter of our relations with
Have you had the opportunity of reading our ombudsman's report
on this case?
Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire: I only received part of it, and so I
could not read it all.
Mr. Perrin Beatty: I would be more than happy to send you a
Let me briefly summarize. When Mr. Milewski's
e-mails were made available at the RCMP inquiry, CBC
News management immediately began an inquiry to look
into the methodology used in terms of
generating the reports that were generated. So it was
days before any complaint was received from the Prime
Minister's office. It was not at the initiative of
the Prime Minister's office in any way. That complaint
came into the ombudsman at a later date.
The Prime Minister's office has exactly the same
right as any other organization or any other citizen
Yesterday, when I appeared before you and your colleagues from
the Bloc Québécois, I invited you to use the services of our
ombudsman. I would like to repeat that invitation since all
citizens have the same rights and recourses if they are not
satisfied with our journalism.
The ombudsman found that in terms of the material that
had gone on-air, it had been professional and it
had been fairly balanced. It represented fairly the
events that had taken place at APEC.
That had also
been the position of CBC News management, and we were
very pleased to find that the ombudsman did that.
ombudsman did not rule on other issues that are still
matters of grievance, properly filed by Mr.
Milewski. They will be
adjudicated later this year under the
So there are two separate
issues here. I can certainly assure you that the
investigation was begun by CBC News before receiving
any complaint from Mr. Donolo.
The Chairman: The members of the committee will have the
opportunity of raising these questions again during the second
We will close the first round with Ms. Bulte, and after
that, Mr. Lavigne, Mr. Crête, and Mr. Mark.
Ms. Sarmite Bulte (Parkdale—High Park, Lib.):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you for appearing before the committee.
In your opening remarks, Madam Saucier, you said that
the strategic plan you're putting forward
“will partially address the issue of cultural
I wonder if perhaps Mr. Tremblay can elaborate on how
that will be done. I agree that it's a very important
concern in light of not just the WTO but
also globalization as we enter into the Free Trade Area
Americas as well.
Second, I am absolutely delighted to see that you
are going to be producing a 30-hour history program. One
of the concerns I've had about our broadcasters,
private and public, is that we have an incredible
wealth of Canadian documentaries. While we have put
funds toward the creation of that artistic product, we
don't seem somehow to have the infrastructure to
promote those documentaries. I wonder if your
strategic plan addresses how we can
promote our Canadian documentaries.
Last but not least, a question that we've
spoken about before but that bears repeating is
with regard to when
you made your presentations to the CRTC, and you talked
about sponsorship. The number of phone calls
I received in my riding
For example, the Friends of Canadian
Broadcasting and individuals
who are artists and technicians within the
CBC found it absolutely abhorrent that
you were going to be taking sponsorship.
You're supposed to be arm's length.
Now, as you
proceed to take corporate sponsorship, that's
bring in with it a brand new set of censorship
issues as well.
If that is truly the case, is the solution that
we in the government need to stand up and say we can't
allow this to happen, and that, if it is the case that we need
more money to address this issue, we should do so?
I wonder if either one of you can comment on those.
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: On the sovereignty
issue, I do believe quite strongly
that each country has to find the tools to promote its
own identity. I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself a
bit, but we are faced with so much
information coming from other countries, it's very
easy for any country today to dilute its own
identity, I think.
So if we don't find ways and means to be sure that we
are going to be able to not only share values
today but also be sure that they are going to be shared in the
next generation, that means, for me, two issues.
First, when you say it has to be shared by the next
generation—and this is a file that is quite
close to my heart—it means two things. One, we have
to reach youngsters,
to attract them, to be able to speak to them.
Up to now, we were not very good at doing that,
especially in English Canada. That is why we would
like to have a “Radio 3”. This would be one means.
The other side of the coin is that if we want to share
values 25 years from now, we have to help bring
these new voices on stream. We have to give room for
these new voices to be broadcast.
This is part of
the role of the CBC. To me, this is quite
When I speak
about our sovereignty, I think the CBC is
one of the most
important tools in our country to share
values today but also to share values tomorrow.
This is quite important.
Ms. Sarmite Bulte: Would it be correct to say—
The Chairman: Very briefly, because we have a lot
of questions today.
Ms. Sarmite Bulte: —that when you talk
about how we can address the issue of
cultural sovereignty, an enhanced role for the CBC
is one of the ways in which we can address the
issue of cultural sovereignty?
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: On the history project, I
will just say something. I'm so pleased about and
proud of the fact that we, for the first time, are
preparing a history series that is going to be
broadcast in French and English and is going to be
the same in French and English so that people will, I
hope, understand each other better.
Michel might like to comment a little more on both
the history project and the sponsorship
Mr. Perrin Beatty: With regard to the history
project, this is a monumental exercise. It is the
first time ever that there's been a televised history
of Canada of this scope. It will give a common
interpretation of Canadian history in both English and
French, and will do so in a way that's respectful to
often very divergent points of view about the nature of
the development of Canada.
So it's something about which
we're very proud. Only the national public broadcaster
could undertake a project of this size.
On the issue of commercialization of radio, I'm very
pleased you raised that, because I'm very glad to
have the opportunity to respond.
I would be every bit
as concerned as you if there were some issue of putting
advertisements on CBC Radio. One of the things that
makes it unique is the fact that we are commercial
free. We took that decision some years ago.
You will not be hearing advertisements in any
conventional sense on CBC Radio.
What we are looking for is flexibility from the CRTC
that will allow us to partner with other cultural
organizations. In doing this with other cultural
organizations and possibly with companies in the
private sector that might be interested in putting on
cultural events, that injection of money into the
cultural sector would enable other cultural
organizations to have events that otherwise could not
have been afforded.
Today we're prevented from
having the type of partnership with them
that's necessary to facilitate that taking place, so this
us to work with symphony orchestras, say, or
Roy Thomson Hall, or other organizations to facilitate
cultural events taking place.
There will be no cheques sent by corporations to the
CBC. Any moneys going in will be going into the
third-party cultural organization. The advantage to us will
be in having an event take place that is beneficial
for our listeners to be able to hear, and it'll be
something that will help ensure that there's an
injection of new funds into the cultural life of
Canada. So it's something that's very positive.
There'll be no return to the days in which there
used to be commercials on CBC Radio. If there's
any question about that, we're quite prepared to see
the commission circumscribe, quite tightly, the
asking for to make it clear that there
would be no 30-second or one-minute spots going
onto CBC but rather that we would just be given the
ability to facilitate the type of cultural partnership
that is beneficial to everyone concerned.
The Chairman: Mr. Lavigne.
Mr. Raymond Lavigne (Verdun—Saint-Henri, Lib.): I want to
thank all three of you for appearing here today. I have a question
for Ms. Saucier.
In the past, you used to cover an event which has existed for
125 years, and that is the St. Patrick's Day parade. I would like
to know why since last year you are no longer covering this event,
which is a part of Canadian heritage. Is there a particular reason?
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: I will let Mr. Beatty answer that
Mr. Perrin Beatty: I don't know, but I will find the answer
and send your a letter if possible.
Mr. Raymond Lavigne: Yes, if you please, because this year,
there was approximately two seconds' coverage of the St. Patrick's
Day parade and then the cameras vanished. I was very surprised to
see that this heritage event was not covered by Radio-Canada and
Mr. Perrin Beatty: As a person of Irish ancestry, I find your
question very important. It will be a pleasure for me to look for
Mr. Raymond Lavigne: Thank you.
The Chairman: One last question, Mr. Lavigne?
Mr. Raymond Lavigne: No, that's all.
The Chairman: Mr. Crête, followed by Mr. Mark.
Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les
Basques, BQ): I have a two-part question.
Firstly, does the CBC feel that it discharged its mandate
during the last referendum campaign, even though the ombudsman,
Mr. Cardinal, said that the English network had less balanced
coverage than the French network? During the last referendum
campaign, he stated that CBC devoted 66% of its time to the No
during the evening news bulletin, and 34% of its time to the Yes,
while the program The World devoted 76% of its time to the No and
24% of its time to the Yes, the program Politics, 63% of its time
to the No and 37% of its time to the Yes. The same report stated
that the French network had maintained an almost perfect balance
between the two camps. That is my first question.
Secondly, you know that Eastern Quebec lost its three stations
in 1990. The members of Parliament and the population of the region
are clamouring for that service to be restored. In that regard, I
have here the support of all federal MPs, 10 provincial MPs, all of
the provincial MPs of the region, eight businesses, 20
institutions, 72 organizations and 96 municipalities. You referred
to this in your presentation. Do you intend to restore to Eastern
Quebec and the North Shore a station that would be present in the
region, so that TV cameras would not only appera in cases of
natural catastrophes or fires?
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: I will answer on the broad principles
and I will let Mr. Beatty answer in a more detailed way.
On your first point, I won't say that we are always perfect,
but we feel, whether during a referendum campaign or our normal
coverage, that it is essential that we have fair and balanced
coverage. We are very much aware that there are sometimes
shortcomings, because just like everyone else, we are not perfect,
but we intend to work continuously to reach that balance. That is
Secondly, if we want to fulfil our mandate in a satisfactory
way, it is absolutely essential that we reflect the country's
various regions. How are we going to do that? We will have to use
new technologies in some cases. We will probably have to do things
differently than we did in the past. We have fewer resources but it
is incumbent upon us to be connected to the country's regions if we
want to reflect them.
Mr. Paul Crête: Does that take precedence, for you, over the
specialty channels? Will you be able to reach that objective if you
associate it with all the other parts? Will the CBC have the means
to do all of that at the same time?
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: I think that the problem is not as you
describe it. The specialty channels have to be self-sufficient
financially. RDI and Newsworld are probably self-sufficient as we
speak. We can't take the resources of the main network and reassign
them to specialty channels. So, one does not exclude the other.
These two aspects are not in opposition to each other.
Mr. Perrin Beatty: Insofar as our coverage of the referendum
is concerned, I am satisfied with it in general, but there is
always room for improvement of our activities.
We asked Erin Research to carry out a study on our coverage.
They found it, generally speaking, to be fair and balanced. I feel
it is important to use that study as well as the results of other
studies and surveys.
Mr. Paul Crête: Mr. Beatty, how can you say that it was
balanced? If we had had the same coverage on the French network, it
would have been considered normal to devote 70 or 75% of airtime to
the Yes. The French network had a perfect balance, approximately
50-50, while the English network's coverage was significantly
unbalanced; it could be described as 70 versus 30%, according to
the type of program, which means that the anglophone population
that listens to the English network had a truncated vision of
reality. The ombudsman, Mr. Cardinal, himself wrote:
Does that mean that the French network, whose viewers are
francophones and live in Quebec, should have devoted 60% of its
airtime to the Yes side? Of course not.
How can you justify that situation? I can't understand it. You
may admit that there was a mistake—and that is what I believe I
understood from what Ms. Saucier said—but defending it...
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: There is room for improvement.
Mr. Paul Crête: Saying that there is room for improvement is
very different from saying that things were balanced. There is
something wrong. Can this be chalked up to the same two solitudes,
still today? I don't know.
Mr. Perrin Beatty: I have also said that I think we can
always make improvements in our coverage. We can do
so on a daily basis and we can do so during referenda as
In general, looking at the coverage
of the referendum, we made every effort to be fair and
complete in our coverage. The interests of our
audiences will vary across the country by region in
terms of the particular perspective they have. What we do
not attempt to do is to require that our journalists
give exactly the same air time to one point of view as
to another, but what we do require is that they do their
job professionally, thoroughly, and well.
Based on what I saw from the referendum coverage,
and based on what I've seen from studies that were
done of the referendum coverage, CBC did that job very
The other question you asked was with regard
to the stations in Quebec. As you know,
we went through a period of very severe budget cuts. We still hope
to improve the level of services in each region of Canada. How can
we do that? That is an important question, because we must do so
with available resources.
I can assure you that there is no contradiction between our
desire to improve services on the main network and our request for
specialty channel licences. All of these specialty channels will
have to be self-financing.
Secondly, those specialty channels will give us the capacity
of improving our services in the regions and allow us to serve the
population in the same way as do RDI and Newsworld. This adds to
our capacity to serve the regions. It is very important for us to
have that capacity to improve our service.
Mr. Paul Crête: Do you know, Mr. Beatty or Ms. Saucier, that
a French-speaking ornithologist who organises a bird month in
Alberta has about 500% more chances to see his event mentioned on
CBC's national network than does an ornithologist organizing the
same event in Eastern Quebec, where there is a population of
400 000? The coverage of that population is much less than that
granted to francophone communities outside Quebec. It is completely
disproportionate if one considers the relative size of the
populations involved in the Canadian mosaic, without considering
whether they are in Quebec or elsewhere.
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: I don't have your statistics, but one
thing is very clear: I try to keep in contact with all of the
francophone communities both in Quebec and outside Quebec.
Everywhere, we hear the same comment. At some point, I'm going to
have to rebalance all of that and try to see how we can reflect the
regions of the country in a proper way, in order to have a tool to
constantly revitalize this francophone culture we have in common.
You are going to have to give me your statistics in a more specific
The Chairman: Mr. Mark.
Mr. Inky Mark: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have just a
comment first. In addition to what Mr. Lavigne has
indicated, I certainly invite CBC to cover Canada's
National Ukrainian Festival parade in Dauphin,
has been going on for about 34 years.
My question is directed to Madam Saucier. Now
that we've heard Mr. Beatty give his farewell speech to
the standing committee this morning, I would like to
ask a question relating to the hiring of the new
president. It comes in two parts.
First, will the board be making that
decision? Second, will this process be
transparent, and open to the public?
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: I'm not the right person to
answer this question, Mr. Mark. As you know, the
president of the CBC is an Order in Council
appointment. He or she is appointed by
the government, the Prime
Minister, and the Minister of Canadian Heritage,
not by the
board of the CBC.
This is a fact of life. This is in
the Canadian Broadcasting Act, and
we have to respect that.
As I said, I'm not the right person
to answer the question.
Mr. Inky Mark: As chairman of the board, would the
board welcome that opportunity to do the hiring?
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: As I've said, in my
former life, before the CBC, I wrote a lot of papers
on board governance. I've said quite a few times
that one of the most important jobs of any board is to
hire its own president.
Mr. Inky Mark: Thank you.
Mr. Perrin Beatty: If you have your
application filled out, Mr. Mark, I'll
make sure it's distributed
to the appropriate people.
Voices: Oh, oh.
The Chairman: Mr. Bélanger.
Mr. Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa—Vanier, Lib.): I'm astonished to
learn that francophones in provinces other than Quebec are
privileged, as compared to the francophones in Quebec, by the CBC.
This is a piece of news that should make all of us happy,
Mr. Chairman, because we were convinced that the opposite was true.
I'm certain that the francophone communities in Alberta or
elsewhere will also be happy to learn this, because they were under
the impression that the opposite was true, especially as regards
production. On that, I agree with my colleague. As I already said
here, before the committee, outside of Montreal, there is no
salvation for independent production. I hope that that will
improve. At least there are a few indications that that might be
I would like to put a question on another topic completely,
but before I do so, I want to congratulate you for the intentions
you presented to the CRTC, particularly the seventh one, "To build
bridges between cultures and francophone and anglophone communities
in our country". I find that commendable and I hope that the CRTC
will grant your request and that in the years to come, we will see
an obvious increase in those efforts.
However, in those 12 intentions, I can't identify one which,
in my opinion, might be important in another connection, that of a
national State corporation that broadcasts in both languages, from
coast to coast, as you say, and which has played, as you mentioned
in your comments, Ms. Saucier, and will probably be called on to
play again, unfortunately, a role in natural disasters or crises.
The Corporation is a kind of lifeline for the population when there
are floods or ice storms. I wonder if that role should not be an
integral part of the mandate of the CBC and SRC. Perhaps we could
even prepare for such eventualities, although I don't wish that
kind of event on anyone. In another connection, the fear of the
Year 2000 bug seems to be decreasing. In Canada and elsewhere in
North America, we seem better prepared than people elsewhere in the
world. However, I think it is a foregone conclusion that there will
be some problems.
In the documentation you have submitted, I don't see anything
about that, but I understand that it may be in the documents you
presented to the CRTC. I would like to hear your comments on this,
on this aspect which is totally outside the realm of partisanship,
I hope, outside the realm of favouritism. It is, in my opinion, an
essential aspect of the usefulness of a public broadcasting
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: Mr. Bélanger, that is an excellent
question. Basically, we are already doing that. During the ice
storm, we were an indispensable tool for the survival of some
people. As for the Year 2000 bug, we are very aware of the fact
that we might once again be useful in that connection to the
Canadian population. We hope that we won't have to be, but that
You are right when you say that we did not discuss this as
such in our presentation. We emphasize on several occasions that
that is what we do. It might be interesting to add that element to
our commitment to Canadians. Perhaps a commitment is what we need.
The Chairman: Ms. St-Hilaire.
Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire: In the same vein, I would like to
remind you that during the ice storm, some people were not able to
follow what was happening, and I'm referring to the community of
the deaf and the hearing-impaired. In Quebec, whenever Mr. Bouchard
made statements or held press conferences, there was no captioning.
There was no interpretation inset. The community of the deaf and
hearing-impaired thus had to follow developments on the Internet.
It was very difficult and these people felt very isolated. I know
that the Réseau québécois pour le sous-titrage (Quebec network for
captioning) tabled a brief stating that there was quite a
difference between francophones and anglophones. Some interesting
developments are occurring in captioning for anglophone deaf and
hearing-impaired persons, but where francophones are concerned, we
are very far indeed from the 100% mark. Ideally, to my way of
thinking, we should have reached 100%. I know that I'm asking for
a lot, but still...
I would like to see greater efforts in this regard than those
mentioned in your strategic plan. Ideally, I would like both
communities, anglophone and francophone, to have 100% captioning,
or at least to have the same objectives. Don't tell me that
financial reasons are behind this, because the CBC's mandate
demands that it serve all Canadians, men and women, all Quebeckers.
Whether hearing-impaired persons are French-speaking or English-
speaking, they must have the same service.
I'd like to hear what you have to say about that. That is all
Mr. Perrin Beatty: I am in complete agreement with you. Our
mandate, in French and English, is to improve our services to all
Canadians. I'm going to ask Mr. Tremblay to answer your question in
Mr. Michel Tremblay (Chief Planning Officer, Canadian Broadcasting
details having to do with our position with regard to services
provided to the hearing-impaired are contained in each of our
renewal applications before the CRTC. I can assure you that in all
cases, we met the requirements set in the previous renewals.
That being said, obviously that is not a maximum for us and we
are committed to continuing our efforts in that direction. Where we
have not attained an optimal level, we commit ourselves to doing
so. Important progress was made on the Réseau de l'information and
Newsworld, on the English network, and also on the Radio-Canada
network, but there is still progress to be made. As I was
explaining yesterday, we have committed to having all of the
Ce soir programs from the regions captioned by the Year 2000, and
other elements will be put on the table for the specific renewal of
the French network.
Mrs. Caroline St-Hilaire: Why do you have more than 75%
captioning on the anglophone side, while on the francophone side,
you haven't managed to get beyond 50 or 51%?
Mr. Michel Tremblay: There are costs involved, of course, but
that is not a factor. The main problem is the availability of the
captioning devices. During the last term of the RDI licence, we
spent a lot more than planned to offer the service at the agreed
So, there is indeed a difference in the service offered and in
the availability of the necessary specialists, but we're working on
it. Radio-Canada even offers training in this area. So, I can
assure you that we are taking this very seriously and that we are
going to try close that gap.
Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire: I'm sure you can find a little
something in your budget for that.
Mr. Péladeau made a brief statement yesterday. It was in
almost all of the newspapers. I don't know if you saw it. The CBC,
during a BBM survey, broadcast the movie Forrest Gump, without
advertising. Was this in connection with your mandate of promoting
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: To answer in a more general way, we do
indeed attempt to promote Canadian culture. That is our main role.
If you look at the statistics on Canadian content, especially
during prime time, you will see that we have more than 90% Canadian
content in both languages.
However, we also want to occasionally present programming from
outside of Canada, and we choose the best available. If you want a
more specific answer, Mr. Beatty will reply.
Mr. Perrin Beatty: Mr. Péladeau was, I guess,
really concerned about Forrest Gump. I am less
concerned about Forrest Gump. I think the
important thing is to take a look at our schedules in
general. What you'll find is that we have never been
more Canadian in our content, on any of our networks,
than we are today. We set the pace for Canadian
broadcasters in terms of having locally produced
programming, and we'll continue to do that.
When we Canadianized our schedules, though, we
reserved one responsibility to ourselves—that is,
to also present the best of the world. Mr.
Péladeau might want to debate whether or not
represents the best of the world, but we feel
it was a very fine movie that was appropriate.
important thing, though, is to recognize that the vast
bulk of our programming is in fact Canadian and
reflects this country. When we can set that pace
and set a standard for the rest of the industry, I
think it's a very important contribution to make.
The other element raised by one of your
colleagues yesterday—and I apologize, because I didn't
have a chance to respond to that—was on the issue of
advertising. One of the allegations made was
that Radio-Canada was undercutting the market in terms
of its advertising.
In fact, if one were to enquire of the
advertising agencies or to look at a study that was
done for us, one would see that just
exactly the opposite is true.
Repeating something that is false—and it periodically
gets repeated that Radio-Canada undercuts
the market—doesn't make it true.
The simple fact is, on both the English side
and the French, we charge, if anything, a premium for
the audiences we deliver to advertisers. We're
proud to do it. We
think we get value for the services we're providing for
advertisers. We're proud, as well, that we can get
maximum value for the taxpayers of Canada.
simply untrue for anyone to claim that Radio-Canada is
discounting advertising or undercutting the market on
that, and we're quite prepared to demonstrate that to the
commission at any time.
The Chairman: Mr. Crête, one last question if you please.
Mr. Paul Crête: It is a very specific question on the program
Anglosong, that is broadcast Saturday night on Radio-Canada. There
are English songs during two hours on Radio-Canada. I find that
English radio in Canada and elsewhere in North America generally...
Anglosong is a program that broadcasts English songs on the French
network of the CBC on Saturday night, between 10 and midnight, I
believe. I wonder if you think this reflects our society and meets
the requirements placed upon you. That time could be put to use to
broadcast French music from all of the Francophonie, for instance
African countries, France or elsewhere. It seems to me that in the
North American context we are in, we can find this kind of music
elsewhere in the radio. This creates expectations. Saturday night,
francophone stations for teenagers are giving those youngsters a
taste for anglophone music. If there weren't any elsewhere, this
would appear normal, but we are invaded by anglophone stations in
Is there an anglophone counterpart to that program, where
francophone songs are broadcast? And if there is one, is the
objective of the CBC being met in this way?
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: I'm going to let Perrin answer in a more
specific way, but I will say that it is part of our role to put
communities in touch with each other. In that context, it can be
understood that we produce this type of program.
Mr. Perrin Beatty: Our mandate, as stated in the Broadcasting
Act, requires that we actively contribute to cultural expression
and to the exchange of its various forms. In both our English and
French services, we have the responsibility of encouraging
On English radio, we have a program called C'est la vie, which
gives anglophones a look at French language and culture.
Mr. Paul Crête: And at what time is it on?
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: At 7:30 Friday nights.
Mr. Paul Crête: I would exchange one for the other at any
time. If you put on French music Saturday night at 11 o'clock on
Radio-Canada, I would be glad to trade.
Mr. Perrin Beatty: French-language songs are also broadcast
on the program This Morning. I think that our
English-language radio service is
perceived by Canadians as the most important instrument to present
French-language Canadian culture to anglophones. That is an
important aspect of our mandate, and we are very proud of it.
Mr. Michel Tremblay: Just a clarification. I am told that the
program À propos, heard Saturday nights at 10 o'clock on the
English network, has a French-language music component and
broadcasts French-language culture.
Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire: You will have a new listener.
Mr. Paul Crête: But that doesn't solve the problem.
The Chairman: Mr. Bélanger.
Mr. Mauril Bélanger: I only have a comment. I want to strongly
encourage both the SRC and the CBC to continue fighting insularity.
I think that the vast majority of Canadians want to get to know
each other and don't want to be isolated. I can't encourage you
strongly enough to continue in that path. I want, on my own behalf,
to wish the CBC every success in all of its applications before the
The Chairman: Ms. Saucier, Mr. Beatty and Mr. Tremblay, we are
very happy to have had you with us today.
We're most grateful to you.
I think CBC and Radio-Canada reflect Canada as a whole.
It's our principal means of expressing our culture in
so many ways.
Mr. Beatty, I think it would be fair to say that all of us
here have really appreciated, during the four years
of your mandate, the cooperation you've
given us as well
wisdom and your capacity to listen at a time when it
was very difficult for a president of the CBC, with all
So we really appreciate what you've
done. We wish you great success, and thank you for all
you've done for all of us.
Mr. Perrin Beatty: I thank you, Mr. Chair.
The Chairman: Thanks for appearing before us.
Ms. Guylaine Saucier: Thank you for your time.
The Chairman: If members would
stay for five minutes, we have
one small item of business to do.
The Chairman: This what we are proposing for next
Next Tuesday, we will have the hearings on Bill
C-64, with witnesses. The invitations have gone out and
so forth. We'll have the regular meeting from 11 a.m.
to 1 p.m.
Then, as agreed, during the discussions
on Bill C-64 we will have the clause-by-clause on
Wednesday at 3.30 p.m., followed
briefly by Mr. Lowther's motion on child human
rights, after the clause-by-clause,
which won't be very long.
On Thursday, if chapter 2 of the study is ready
dans les deux langues,
we will convene a meeting if we are ready for
Is that agenda okay with members for next week?
Mr. Inky Mark: How many witnesses are we hearing on
The Chairman: About six or seven in one round table.
Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire: Would it be possible to tell us in
advance whether chapter 2 on cultural policy will be ready for
The Chairman: It all depends on when the translation comes
back. May we let you know next Monday?
Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire: Excellent.
The Chairman: Mr. Bélanger.
Mr. Mauril Bélanger: If we do the clause-by-clause study
Wednesday, Mr. Chairman, when should the proposed amendments be
The Chairman: Monday at the latest.
Mr. Mauril Bélanger: Fine.
The Chairman: Will the government have amendments, Mr.
Mr. Mauril Bélanger: Not to my knowledge, but we can check.
The Chairman: Will there be any from the other side?
Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire: Probably, but if we have until Monday
to table amendments and if we are hearing witnesses Tuesday, isn't
that a bit strange?
Mr. Ted McWhinney (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.): If an amendment
does not simply introduce a correction, if it attempts to reverse
something in the bill, that is something else.
The Chairman: We could give you until Tuesday afternoon.
Mr. Mauril Bélanger: I don't suppose there will be that many
in any case. Perhaps the MPs could be given until five o'clock on
Tuesday to table them.
Mr. Paul Crête: Or perhaps even till Wednesday noon.
The Chairman: Tuesday, five o'clock, that will do. That will
give you the possibility of examining them for Wednesday.
It will be 5 p.m. Tuesday.
So we can
just have a look at them before clause-by-clause.
Is everyone in agreement?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chairman: We have just one last item of business.
We received a letter from the National Arts Centre.
We tabled the letter, although, unfortunately, Mrs.
Lill and Mr.
Muise are not here.
Could you let us know on Tuesday
morning next week, when we meet, what your
decision is on what you feel we should do? There's a
request there that we wait until we have the new
director general in place. We tabled that letter, and
we'll give you another copy as a reminder. We would
like to know so that we can reply to them.
So maybe on Tuesday you can let us know. I'll ask
the clerk to advise Mr. Muise and Mrs. Lill so that
can come to a decision on Tuesday.
Is everyone in agreement on that?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chairman: So, that's what we will do.
The meeting is adjourned.
Thank you very much.