Mr. A. L. BEAUBIEN (Provencher):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to present the second and final report of the select committee on radio broadcasting. This report is unanimous, and copies are being printed in English and in French.
The select committee appointed on radio broadcasting to consider the annual report of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and to review the policies of the corporation with special reference to revenues, expenditures and development, begs leave to present the following as its second and final report:
Your committee held seven meetings and had as principal witnesses the chairman and vice chairman of the board of governors and the general manager. During seven sittings, an exhaustive examination was conducted. All information required by the committee to carry out its terms of reference was supplied, confidential information not susceptible of publication in the public interest being made available privately. The committee was impressed by the ability and frankness of the principal witnesses.
The bulk of the evidence concerned the program, technical and financial policies of the corporation. Your committee is of the opinion that these policies are well designed to carry out the purpose for which the corporation was created. Your committee is also of the opinion that the policies of the corporation are being executed in a businesslike fashion.
With respect to programs, the corporation's policy is to utilize Canadian talent in the development of Canadian, programs of distinction and quality, and to make available to Canadians the best programs from the United States, Great Britain and elsewhere. With the resources at its disposal, your committee believes, the corporation can give Canada satisfactory broadcasting service, while at the same time enabling Canada to create programs worthy of exchange.
With respect to the corporation's plan of national coverage, involving the ownership of high power stations and the extension of CBC coverage to reach all parts of Canada, your committee wishes to indicate its approval. It is considered that the development of this plan is of great importance in the national interest. Your committee is of the opinion that while private stations will continue to serve a useful local purpose, the corporation urgently requires its own comprehensive facilities for distribution. At the present time, large areas of Canada, particularly in the maritimes, the prairies and British Columbia, receive somewhat scant and spasmodic service of CBC programs.
Your committee is satisfied that the financial policies of the corporation are sound and that the administration is being conducted in a prudent and efficient manner.
Your committee considered carefully the present and future revenue requirements of
the corporation. It is of the opinion that present sources of revenue should be sufficient to maintain and develop the projected plan of national coverage.
With respect to revenue for capital purposes, your committee is of the opinion that consideration should be given to the provision by loan or grant, of sufficient capital funds to enable the corporation to complete its plan of national coverage at the earliest possible moment.
Your committee is of the opinion that the present scale of licence fees of $50, for privately owned broadcasting stations of hundred watts or under is adequate, but believes licence fees should be increased on higher powered stations servicing densely populated areas.
Your committee recommends that the incidence of the application of the licence fee be carefully reviewed by the Department of Transport in the light of this year's experience, with a view of effecting a reduction of the licence fees.
Your committee was impressed with the importance of the establishment, at an early date, of a high power short-wave broadcasting station. Such a station, your committee believes, would be a great utility in interpreting and advertising Canada abroad and in facilitating an exchange of programs between Canada and other broadcasting systems. Canada, your committee was informed, is the only major trading nation without such facilities. It is submitted this should be financed as a national project, operated and controlled by the corporation.
Your committee believes that the constitution of the corporation, ensuring a proper division between policy and management and a degree of flexibility and independence essential to the medium of broadcasting, together with ultimate parliamentary control, is well suited to the purpose for which it was created. Public service broadcasting in Canada must necessarily continue to be free from partisan control, and your committee is gratified to report that the activities of the CBC have been free from any nature of partisanship whatsoever. Your committee also wished to pay its tribute to the governors of the corporation for their vision, public spirit and efficient conduct of the trust imposed upon them by parliament.
In conclusion, your committee wishes to express its belief that the broadcasting Bystem emerging in Canada is, and can increasingly be, an important factor in creating a sense of national unity and approves the general policy of concentrating on a national system-of high power stations.
The house in committee of supply, Mr. Sanderson in the chair.
Subtopic: FINAL REPORT OF SELECT COMMITTEE PRESENTED