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President’s Messages

December 20, 2016

Sometimes it is hard to be heard. We know the value of what we do but sometimes others don’t recognize how important the cultural community is to our identity as a country and as a people. When we speak out together, it becomes a little easier to understand.

It’s been a thought-provoking year. Some bureaucrats, culturecrats and others from across the country have been very publicly picking apart the most fundamental values of our cultural infrastructure. I am proud of how we have come together to speak up for what we do and how we do it, and posit potential improvements that can be made to our already successful cultural infrastructure.

I want to offer a special shout-out to members Yannick Bisson, Jean Yoon and Paul Sun-Hyung Lee for making the trek to Ottawa last month to appear before the CRTC. They took time from their busy professional schedules to bravely provide a personal perspective on how important sustainable investment in Canadian content is for all of us. We owe them a debt of gratitude – regulatory hearings are an odd environment for actors and I was sorry to be out of the country when we were called to appear.

Yannick steadfastly reminded the CRTC that a series that began life with a private broadcaster, and continues to be one of our most-watched series under the wing of our public broadcaster, has lessons to teach those who might disparage our current system:

thank-you_inst“Murdoch Mysteries is unique – not just in Canada – but around the world. And it is the product of talented performers and creators who have chosen to live and pursue our craft here, despite the fact that making a living as a Canadian actor is not always easy.

Unique Canadian programs don’t make it into Canadian homes by accident.  As working Canadian performers, we know that ensuring Canadian stories are seen and heard in the shadow of Hollywood can be challenging.”

Yannick, Jean and Paul deserve a standing ovation for their passionate appeal to the CRTC to consider the value of Canadian talent, and demonstrate this value by ensuring we maintain and improve upon a sustainable, long-term investment in Canadian production.

These are sentiments we all can share and have shared in the last few months. Thank you to everyone who participated in Canadian Heritage’s Canadian Content in the digital world consultations. Whether you entered a formal submission, shared a unique Canadian story, attended a face-to-face consultation meeting or supported our efforts through social media, the combined value of your actions ensured that industry and government decision-makers heard us loudly and clearly. And that’s a Christmas present the whole country deserves.

After such a busy year, I wish all of you a joyful holiday season, and health and happiness in the year ahead.

In solidarity,
Ferne Downey
ACTRA National President

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