Hon. J. J. McCann (Minister of National Revenue):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a statement of government policy on television.
For some time the government has been giving careful consideration to the development of television broadcasting in Canada. In its consideration it has had in mind the report of the royal commission on national development in the arts, letters and sciences. The commission recommended that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation proceed with the production of television programs and with plans for national coverage. It spoke of extension of national coverage both through publicly and privately-owned stations. It said that no private station should be licensed until the C.B.C. had available national television programs and that all private stations established should be required to serve as outlets for national programs. It emphasized the need for direction and control of television broadcasting in Canada to prevent Canadian stations from becoming mere channels for broadcasting material from outside Canada and to encourage Canadian content.
The government believes, with the royal commission, that television should be developed in Canada with the aim of benefiting our national life and that it should have the structure and the means required by Canadian conditions to ensure an adequate amount of suitable Canadian programs for Canadians as well as using some material from outside the country. Television will undoubtedly play a considerable part in the lives of many Canadian families. It is bound to have a strong effect on the growing minds of young people watching it in their own homes. The government believes it should be so developed in Canada that it is capable of providing a sensible pattern of programming for Canadian homes with at least a good portion of Canadian content reflecting Canadian ideas and creative abilities of our own people and life in all parts of Canada.
The government knows also that, because of the nature of our country, there must be
a wide integration of effort and resources if we are to have adequate television service suitable to our national needs and reaching at least a major part of the public in all regions. Now that national television service has started, the government believes that it should be extended as widely and as quickly as possible to other areas. Therefore, it is proposed to ask parliament to approve a loan to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for the purpose of building stations on the Pacific coast, in the prairie provinces, and in the Atlantic provinces. These would be established in the Vancouver, Winnipeg and Halifax areas. Thus, in addition to the stations at Montreal and Toronto, and that to be built at Ottawa, there would be publicly-owned stations with some production facilities at least in each of the main regions of the country.
In addition the government will now be ready to receive applications for licences for private stations to serve areas not now served or to be served by publicly-owned facilities already announced. The government has indicated to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that it is prepared to consider applications for such licences which may be recommended by the corporation after being made in the usual way to the Department of Transport.
The objective will be to make national television service available to as many Canadians as possible through co-operation between private and public enterprise. Under this plan the private stations licensed will carry national program service, besides having time for programming of their own. There will be plenty of opportunity for enterprise by private interests in television broadcasting, and at the same time provision for wide extension of the national service. Since the objective will be to extend services as widely throughout Canada as is practicable, no two stations will be licensed at the present to serve the same area. A television station can serve only a comparatively small area. Canada is very large and it will require a good many stations before television can be brought to the people in most parts of our country. It is desirable to have one station in as many areas as possible before there are two in any one area.
The government believes that the policy adopted will provide for the integration of effort and resources, both public and private,
that is necessary for the development of our television broadcasting serving our family and national life, and reaching as great a number as possible of Canadians.
Subtopic: EXTENSION OF SERVICE-APPLICATIONS FOR LICENCES BY PRIVATE STATIONS