Wednesday, February 7, 2007

How we got hosed...I mean "soaked" Pt. 1

The Canadian Television Fund...illegal?

Antonia Zerbisias has brought to light some great info should you be interested to see how corrupt the system has gotten. Keith Mahar has been taking on a huge battle and we would do well to support him in getting his message out there. The following is an excerpt from Mahar's letter to PM Paul Martin regarding CRTC corruption:

CRTC Chairman Keith Spicer addressed the fact the CCTA proposal would allow the cable television industry to overcharge basic cable subscribers in order to subsidize other business ventures that had nothing to do with broadcasting, and that subscribers would probably not even notice this happening. The CRTC Chairman, however, did not object to the industry's unorthodox proposal. He did, however, object that the $100 million amount to be diverted to the Canadian production companies under the industry plan was inadequate in his opinion.

"First we saw $100 million and then we found out very quickly it was over five years. It was only up to $100 million. We learned yesterday it's voluntary. I appreciate that your company made a firm commitment. ...
Still, we haven't got money on the table, numbers on the table that we can count on. I don't think you would ever sign a business deal in which the other guy had to give you $100 million but on a voluntary basis.

"You are asking us to soak -- well, let's say to invite the Canadian subscribers to come up with quite a lot of money for your industry to build an infrastructure which would be used no doubt to defend Canadian programming, but also down the road five years a whole lot of other services that have nothing to do with what normal people call television what with home shopping, banking, and things in which the industry will make some honest money, and good for them. But we should know what we are asking these people to pay for.

"It seems to me the quid pro quo is not as firm as the demand you are making upon the subscriber. Your industry wants the subscribers commitment to the industry to be absolutely firm and to come right off their cable bill. They probably won't even notice it. But the industry's commitment to the subscriber and to Canada and to the creative community, which will be the immediate beneficiary, is very shaky.

"We have to take that into account. If there is anything you can do within the industry to firm up that commitment, that major quid pro quo which I say in the name of my colleagues, we find extremely promising. It's a new door that you have opened. We think it is a very useful and exciting path for the industry to consider. But if we are going to really consider this range of proposals you are putting forward, that among other things would have to be firmed up very considerably." [emphasis added]

*Transcript of CRTC public hearing, CRTC Chairman Keith Spicer, 4 March 1993, p. 1153-54

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