I'd like to bring the meeting to order.
On behalf of the committee, I would like to apologize to all of our witnesses for being so very late and for keeping you waiting for such a long time. Votes take precedence over everything else we have to do, so this was a real issue.
We will begin in a minute. I would like to ask the committee if we could have an agreement to stay until 1:30 to accommodate our witnesses. Do I have a nodding of heads? Thank you very much.
We have four witnesses: Mr. Crowfoot, general manager of the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta; Ken Waddell, from Neepawa Banner, the Neepawa Press and Rivers Banner; Northern News Services Ltd., with Casey Lessard and Bruce Valpy; and Mark Lever from The Chronicle Herald.
We will ask each of you to present for five minutes, and then we will go into an interactive question and answer session. I will give you a warning when you have only one minute left. Is that good?
You know that we are studying the accessibility of media in local communities throughout Canada. What has consolidation of the media done to impact that, positively or negatively, on all platforms, including digital? What has the digital world done to impact access to local news and Canadian stories across this country?
Hopefully we can hear from you, and maybe you can help us with some recommendations that you think will deal with this issue of access to local news.
I will begin with Mr. Crowfoot.