Hon. J. J. McCann (Minister of National Revenue):
In order to clarify statements
which already have been made and to answer questions asked by several hon. members with reference to television, I wish to make this brief statement.
In my statement of December 8, 1952, I mentioned six centres in which Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television stations are to be established immediately, and indicated that applications would now be received for private stations to serve other areas. I pointed out that under the plan the private stations licensed would carry national program service of the C.B.C., besides having time for programming on their own. I also said, as reported at page 409 of Hansard of December 8, 1952:
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.
These words make it clear that it was not the policy of the government to create monopoly in television or to limit any one area indefinitely to one television station.
The principle of one station to an area is to apply only until an adequate national television system is developed. At the rate that applications for stations are now being received it may not be long before there is a sufficient degree of national coverage to justify the government and the C.B.C. giving
consideration to permitting two and perhaps in some cases more than two stations in certain areas. It is anticipated that, in due course, private stations will be permitted in areas covered by C.B.C. stations, and the
C.B.C. may establish stations in some areas originally covered by private stations.
The ultimate objective of the C.B.C. is to have at least one station in every province of Canada where that is practicable. We understand that private applications have been under development in the five provinces where no C.B.C. station is now under way, and the government does not want to discourage immediate establishment in these areas of private stations which will further extend national service coverage. For that reason licences granted for private stations in those provinces will contain a provision that, before establishing a competing station, the C.B.C. will ascertain whether the area is likely to afford adequate financial support for two stations. If not, it may offer to purchase the private station at a fair and reasonable price rather than set up a new one.
Subtopic: STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY