Presentation to the CRTC
Task Force for Cultural Diversity on Television
February 27, 2003
9:00 a.m. - 11:30am
CRTC Offices, 1 Promenade du Portage
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission. On behalf
of the members of the Task Force on Cultural Diversity for Television,
I would like to express our appreciation for your invitation to
speak with the Commission today.
I would like to first inform you that one of our members could
not be with us today: actress, producer and hereditary chief of
the Squamish Nation, Stefany Mathias (who is out of the country).
Mr. Chairman, as you will hear, each of the members of this task
force represent their cumulative experiences as industry & non
industry members and many individually in their capacities strove
to improve the reflection of Canada's diversity. Many of us, as
broadcasters, and or community activists have had the opportunity
to interface with this issue for quite awhile and it is therefore
even more incumbent upon us to develop practical solutions that
satisfy communities and broadcasters alike. We welcome this opportunity
to inform the Commission of our work to date and our work upcoming,
and dialogue with you on some very important issues.
Mr. Chairman, I'm delighted to be here today. I'd like to assure
you that each of us believe in the work you have set out for us
and are committed to achieving the objectives set out in your Public
As the first visible minority to be appointed to the CRTC, I was
proud to have worked with the Commission over my term. Prior to
my appointment I was active in working with the Secretary of State
for Multiculturalism on his participation in the Commission's process
to develop its first Ethnic Broadcasting Policy in 1986.
As many of you will recall, during my term, the Commission actively
pursued the advancement of women in the broadcasting industry. Today,
I am pleased to be a part of an industry-wide process so that Canadian
television will better reflect the cultural diversity of Canada.
The task force is committed to the task at hand: to develop a set
of industry best practices that can be incorporated into the corporate
plans of Canadian broadcasters. We believe that these will result
in improving accurate portrayal and reflection.
We would like to begin our discussion today by providing you with
a snapshot of our work to date and an outline of where we plan to
be in six months.
Monsieur le président, jusqu'à présent, les
membres du comité se sont rencontrés à six
différentes reprises. Chaque fois, nos travaux ont progressé
et pris de l'ampleur. Je pense exprimer le sentiment général
en disant que nous formons désormais une équipe motivée
et dynamique, bien épaulée par le CRTC et par l'Association
canadienne des radiodiffuseurs. Nous avons consacré nos efforts
à asseoir les bases indispensables à l'atteinte des
deux objectifs qui motivent notre démarche : produire un
compte-rendu étoffé de la présence et de la
représentation des diverses communautés culturelles
et raciales à la télévision canadienne et mener
une large consultation permettant de prendre le pouls des Canadiens
de toutes origines, d'un bout à l'autre du pays, sur cette
Mr. Chairman, the Commission will be aware of the discussions between
your staff and the Task Force on what the best approach to this
research task would be. After a good deal of thought and consideration,
it was determined that an approach that carried out baseline research
as well as more qualitative measures - in other words, a balance
of research methods - would be the best approach overall. We believe
that, at the completion of the research now well underway, we will
have one of the most comprehensive studies ever undertaken on cultural
diversity and television - we feel very positive and excited about
the work that lies ahead.
As mentioned earlier, Stefany Mathias could not be with us today
- however Marie-Anna will present Stefany's comments.
Mr. Chairman, the members of the Task Force are certainly aware
that there is more to our work than research - there is outreach
and consultation with many culturally diverse communities across
Canada. We consider this to be a critically important part of our
work to ensure it has the highest level of information and credibility
possible. As an actor, producer and Hereditary Chief of the Squamish
Nation, I have a unique perspective to bring to the Task Force's
work and as a result am in a position to act as an accessible intermediary
or messenger. This will assist in bringing the views of these diverse
communities to the Task Force and vice-versa.
I would echo these comments, Mr. Chairman. The representatives
on the Task Force are uniquely positioned: we can advise, we can
consult, we literally bring a deep commitment and vast experience
of Canadian cultural diversity to the table. I myself have dozens
of opportunities - as part of the audiences I speak to or sit within,
with the many diverse clients and contacts of the Pearson-Shoyama
Institute - to bring the views of communities forward. My colleagues
here today can tell you I have already done so, on many occasions.
Mr. Chairman, I think it's important to recognize that the consultations
to be undertaken by the Task Force will extend beyond the broadcasting
industry and beyond many culturally diverse communities. As you
will see from the presentation of our research agenda, we are seeking
to be as broadly inclusive as possible - from numerous one-on-one
interviews with key influencers, to using a diverse range of focus
groups - in order to achieve an outcome that will be broadly based.
I would add that the Task Force members recognize the unique situation
of Aboriginal reflection and diversity, and will address this in
Mr. Chairman, we hope our remarks have provided some insight into
the operations and thinking of the Task Force to date. We have accomplished
a good deal of work - we have the unanimous support of the members
of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, selected a research
team, and made some pivotal research decisions. We are also very
aware of just how important consultation is as we carry forward.
You have heard something of our approach to consultation and I'm
sure we will talk about this again in our discussion. We have also
taken steps to ensure the Commission is aware of activities and
decisions - and have found it very helpful to have the Commission
present at our meetings through Martine Vallee.
Mr. Chairman, this project is clearly an ambitious undertaking.
The work of the Task Force will be pivotal - not only to provide
a comprehensive picture of the reflection and portrayal of cultural
diversity on private television, but to provide some stepping stones
to the future.
Comme l'ont indiqué mes collègues, Monsieur le Président
les membres du groupe de travail sont conscients d'avoir à
relever de grands defies. Comme vous, nous reconnaissons que le
projet que nous entreprenons est d'une grande complexité.
Toutefois, nous sommes convaincus que nous avons pris la bonne direction.
Nos travaux de recherche devraient être complétés
avant la fin du mois de juillet.
Aujourd'hui nous aimerons vous donner une idée de notre
échéancier et de la progression des principales étapes
de notre projet.
Mr. Chairman, having heard from my colleagues around the table,
we would like to take some time to walk the Commission through the
research plan itself, and then move into discussion.
With your permission, I would like to introduce Kaan Yigit of Solutions
Research Group and Aidan O'Neill of Johnston Buchan LLP.
Kaan and Aidan Present Research Summary (no more than 25 minutes)
Mr. Chairman, that concludes the presentation of the Task Force
for Cultural Diversity on Television. I'm sure you and your colleagues
have questions in mind and areas of discussion you would like to
pursue. We're very excited about our work ahead, and the prospect
of bringing practical solutions forward. Thank you once again for
inviting us here today.