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HERITAGE MINISTER MUST STAND UP FOR CANADIAN TV

November 19, 2009 – Toronto – Canadian performers are urging Heritage Minister James Moore to stand up for Canadian TV, after the government hinted it’s set to overrule upcoming CRTC decisions.

“If the Heritage Minister is prepared to start telling the CRTC what to do, then we hope he’ll stand up for the right of Canadians to access Canadian content on our airwaves and make sure we aren’t being fleeced by big cable,” said Ferne Downey, ACTRA National President.

Following news reports that the government is planning to overrule the CRTC if the regulator decides that cable companies should pay broadcasters for their signals, yesterday in the House of Commons Minister Moore stated: “I will not apologize?for getting involved to ensure that the CRTC does not arbitrate between two big corporate entities?but ensure that the first responsibility of all of us, including the CRTC, is to put consumers first.”

“Private broadcasters and cable companies have been getting a free ride for too long and consumers and audiences already aren’t getting what they’ve been paying for through their cable fees and taxes. It’s time to make both private broadcasters and big cable, who have profited from the system, give back to Canadian consumers by giving them the opportunity to see their own stories on their own airwaves,” said Downey.

ACTRA supports the broadcasters’ demands for compensation from cable companies for the use of their signal, but only if that money then goes back into producing Canadian programming, particularly scripted content. With record high profits, cable companies can and should contribute more to Canadian broadcasting, but should not be allowed to pass the buck to Canadians.

“The government could also show its support for Canadian TV by committing to increased, long-term support to the Canadian Media Fund and increasing the contribution cable makes to it,” said ACTRA National Executive Director Stephen Waddell. “We look forward to the Heritage Minister clearly stating that if the government wades into debates at the CRTC, he will stand up for both Canadian consumers and our culture.”

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 21,000 members across Canada – the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.

For more information:
Carol Taverner, Public Relations Officer
(416) 644-1519, ctaverner@actra.ca , cell: (416) 768-3336


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