ACTRA National

ACTRA National

April 18, 2008 09:53 ET

ACTRA: We Need More Canada on TV

Canadian stars fight for Canadian programming at CRTC

GATINEAU, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - April 18, 2008) - Canadian stars Robb Wells (Trailer Park Boys) and Julie Stewart (Cold Squad) took ACTRA's fight for more drama on television to the CRTC. The regulator is holding public hearings on the regulatory framework for cable and satellite services in addition to specialty and pay channels.

"We need more Canada on TV. If the CRTC changes the rules, not only will Canadian creators be out of work, our country will lose its capacity to tell our own stories. The rules are working. Please don't import the drama disaster from the conventional side onto the specialty side. It takes too long to fix," said Wells.

"Canadian culture on the small screen is at a crossroads. If the ecosystem of CRTC rules is dismantled, it will be the death knell for Canadian culture and our sovereignty. Already scarce financial resources will be diverted out of our broadcasting system," said Stewart.

"Polling shows that 67% of Canadians look to the CRTC as guardians of our cultural trust on television. Canadians expect the CRTC to regulate the system to ensure we have access to Canadian content," added Stewart.

"Broadcasters will not spend on drama unless they are regulated to do so. We know this from the fallout of the CRTC's disastrous 1999 Television Policy that caused Canadian English drama to virtually disappear from primetime conventional TV," added Wells.

ACTRA maintains that strong rules must remain in place in order to achieve the cultural objectives of the Broadcasting Act. ACTRA calls on the CRTC to:

- Maintain current Canadian programming spending requirements on pay and specialty TV services.

- Maintain the current regulatory framework that supports a strong Canadian pay and specialty sector to enable these services to meet the spending requirements.

- Remove the ability of specialty and pay television licensees to use Canadian Television Fund licence fee top-up monies to reach their Canadian programming expenditure targets.

- Increase cable industry contributions to Canadian programming to 6% of their revenues from the current 5%.

- If fee-for-carriage, then fees for drama. Direct any new revenue to the production of the hardest genre of programming to produce: Canadian drama. In addition to this, broadcasters should be required to spend 7% of ad revenue on Canadian drama.

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.

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