Hon. Gerard Pelletier (Secretary of State):
Mr. Speaker, on October 23rd, 1968, I announced that, in order to facilitate the development of educational broadcasting, a task force would be established immediately under my direction. I informed the House that the task force would also be charged with considering and advising on the necessity of interim action pending enactment of new legislation. On March 10th, the government introduced for first reading Bill C-179, an "Act to establish the Canadian Educational Broadcasting Agency, and to make certain consequential amendments to the Broadcasting Act."
Both the province of Alberta and the province of Ontario have indicated the necessity for interim action. In Alberta, a station partly dedicated to educational broadcasting is being set up in conjunction with the CBC. In Ontario, the department and provincial agencies concerned are presently studying means of fulfilling the requests of that province.
As a result of the studies undertaken by all concerned, it has become apparent that significant technological changes have occurred and advances can be expected to continue.
As a consequence, and because of the progress made in the development of interim measures designed to meet specific requests, interim measures designed to meet specific requests in the field of educational broadcasting, and the impossibility of arriving at a general approach satisfactory to all provinces in the field, the government has decided not to pursue the development of the Canadian Educational Broadcasting Agency for the time
November 5, 1969
Educational Broadcasting being, and therefore not to proceed with Bill C-179.
In order to meet the desires of provinces for educational broadcasting, the government has implemented the following measures: (1) The Canadian Radio-Television Commission will be directed, pursuant to section 22 of the Broadcasting Act, that in provinces where the provincial authorities desire cable transmission facilities, as a condition for all new cable licences, and for the renewal of existing cable licences, the licensees shall be required to set aside at least one channel for educational programming. By this action, the government assures access to this mode of transmission for educational broadcasting.
I should note, Mr. Speaker, that this policy is consistent with the policy statement of the C.R.T.C. on the development of cable as issued on May 13th.
(2) Furthermore, the government has decided that in certain situations, the C.R.T.C. may recommend to the government to direct the C.B.C. to act as its agent pursuant to section 39(2) of the Broadcasting Act, in providing, on a recoverable cost basis, the transmission facilities for educational broadcasting.
(3) Because of the importance of educational broadcasting, discussions with the provinces in this area, and in particular on the definition of educational broadcasting will be held under the aegis of the Secretary of State. In addition, the Department of Communications will be available to assist provinces that desire advice on technological changes, and will co-ordinate the necessary studies on transmission systems within the government.
The government has decided to continue its policy of not granting provincial governments or their agents broadcasting licences. The government intends to issue a formal direction to the Canadian Radio-Television Commission to this effect.
The purpose, Mr. Speaker, of this new policy is to recognize changes which have occurred in the technology and other related factors, since the initial discussions on educational broadcasting, in the white paper of 1966. This policy will assure provinces the maximum possible choice in transmission facilities.
[DOT] (2:10 p.m.)
Subtopic: EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION-STATEMENT OF SECRETARY OF STATE ON GOVERNMENT POLICY