Evidence of meeting #6 for Canadian Heritage in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was communities.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Sylviane Lanthier  Chair, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada
Francis Sonier  President, Association de la presse francophone
François Côté  Secretary General, Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada
Simon Forgues  Development and Communications Officer, Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada
Serge Quinty  Director of Communications, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada
Richard Tardif  Executive Director, Quebec Community Newspapers Association
Jean La Rose  Chief Executive Officer, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network
Carmel Smyth  President, Canadian Media Guild
Jeanne d'Arc Umurungi  Communications Director, Canadian Media Guild

8:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Hedy Fry

I want to welcome our witnesses who came in today.

The witnesses are the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada, the Association de la presse francophone, and the Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada.

We will begin with the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada.

Ms. Lanthier.

8:45 a.m.

Sylviane Lanthier Chair, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada

Good morning, Madam Chair and members of the committee.

I would like to thank you for inviting us to appear today as part of your study on the media and local communities. My name is Sylviane Lanthier, and I am the chair of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada. With me today is our director of communications, Serge Quinty.

In nine provinces and three territories, 2.6 million people chose to live part of their lives in French. We can truly talk about linguistic duality because there are dynamic and diverse francophone communities in every region of this country. They embody one of our basic Canadian values. The FCFA is here today as the main advocate for these communities and the people who live in them, people who are determined to live in French.

We are honoured to share this table today with the Association de la presse francophone and the Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada or ARC. The presence of these two organizations in particular very clearly illustrates a fundamental reality of our communities: if we wanted to have local media in French, we had to create them ourselves, for the most part. Developed by and for our communities, our community newspapers and radio stations are the only media, aside from Radio-Canada's regional stations and a few private-sector media, that talk about the daily reality of Canada's francophone population in various parts of the country.

However, our media are suffering today. Last year, one of our newspapers, L'Express d'Ottawa, folded and another, L'Eau Vive in Saskatchewan, suspended publication for a few months. A benefit concert for this newspaper will take place next week, in fact.

When it comes to radio, three of the ARC member stations no longer have paid staff. In places like Halifax and Peace River, the problems are so serious that the station's survival is at risk.

How did we get to this point? The digital shift certainly played a part. When the federal government made the shift to using the Internet for all communications with the Canadian public, advertising in our media suffered. The drop in advertising had a major impact on many of our radio stations and newspapers, as it prevented them from conducting the day-to-day activities that benefit the community they serve. Like the APF, the FCFA filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Official Languages over the government's decision on advertising.

More broadly, government support for community media is still seriously lacking. Many media outlets are located in places where the advertising market alone is not enough to support a French-language outlet, and that is why the private sector does not have a presence. However, even though these radio stations and newspapers have significantly reduced financial viability, their cultural and social viability is not in doubt. The very existence of these media shows how important they are to the community they serve. Conversely, if they don't receive better support, they will disappear, which will be an irreparable loss for Canada's francophone population.

People will talk about how technology has changed, and we recognize the growing importance of digital technology and social platforms in the consumer habits of Canadians, including the francophones who live in our communities. However, I would like to draw your attention to three considerations.

First, we live in a time where the vast majority of television, radio, and news content on digital platforms is produced by the traditional media. As our colleagues from the ARC will tell you, radio has never stopped being popular, even among young people.

Second, high-speed connectivity in Canada has not yet reached the point where everyone can easily access online media products. It is difficult for an Acadian in Nova Scotia to listen to the radio online when he has a dial-up connection rather than high-speed Internet. You can't expect a francophone in the Yukon or the Northwest Territories to watch videos online when he pays an exorbitant monthly price for bandwidth. As we told the CRTC a few weeks ago, there are still many places in Canada, especially rural and remote areas, where the government needs to invest in infrastructure so that francophones can fully be part of the digital world. In these places, radio, television, and newspapers remain the tools of choice.

The third consideration I would like to draw to your attention is as follows. In a multi-platform world where some people choose to read their newspaper online and others in print format, where some listen to the radio over the airwaves and others on a mobile device, content is king. Of course it is important to invest in digital technology, but it is even more important to be able to gather and deliver that content. That is why I encourage this committee and the federal government to support the ability of our media to talk about everyday happenings in our communities.

With that in mind, we would welcome a program to support community media and provide our radio stations and newspapers with the minimum resources they need to do their jobs. This program could also support our community media as they adapt to the digital environment. Many major media outlets are having a hard time making this shift, so imagine what it is like for our newspapers and radio stations.

Basically, as we see it, we have two choices as a society. We can let market forces take their course and run the risk that with the continued erosion of resources, even more media will stop broadcasting or publishing. In that case, we can wait and see whether or not appropriate alternatives emerge from the digital shift. Alternatively, we can invest to strengthen the ability of our media to do their jobs and operate in a digital, multi-platform environment. In that way, our media will remain rooted in our communities.

I would now like to talk briefly about Radio-Canada.

The FCFA estimates that the public broadcaster's regional stations are the only source of local French-language television content for 58% of francophones living outside Quebec. Since these are provincial stations, you will understand that I am using the word “local” pretty broadly.

You and I know the situation Radio-Canada is in right now. In recent years, our communities and the rest of Canada have seen whole swaths of the Crown corporation's programming disappear. Since the CRTC did away with the Local Program Improvement Fund, the regional stations outside Quebec produce almost no television programming aside from news. Youth programs, cultural magazines, and variety shows have all but disappeared. News programming has even been cut from 60 to 30 minutes everywhere except in Ottawa and Moncton. Once again, there are fewer opportunities to talk about day-to-day events in our communities on television and fewer human and physical resources to do so.

The Government of Canada will announce new funding for CBC/Radio-Canada in the upcoming federal budget. At least that is what we hear. That's wonderful, but there is absolutely no guarantee that that new money will benefit the corporation's regional French-language stations in our communities. For one thing, after years of cuts, many areas badly need to make up for lost time. For another, as the chair of the CRTC said at the recent public hearings about local and community television, it is the board that makes the choices that guide the corporation, a board that does not include any representation from our communities, I might add.

In his report on CBC/Radio-Canada funding, commissioned last year by the governments of Quebec and Ontario, consultant Michel Houle recommended that the government reinstate an annual subsidy, over and above basic parliamentary appropriations, to be used exclusively to enhance locally relevant programming on CBC/Radio-Canada radio and television stations outside metropolitan areas. That is something worth exploring. We also recommended to the CRTC that a fund be created to support local French-language television programming outside Quebec.

We urge the federal government to ensure, one way or another, that the money invested in our public broadcaster is used, at least in part, to enhance the French-language television and radio stations that serve our communities. We ask that the government require CBC/Radio-Canada to meet this condition in order to obtain new funding.

In closing, when we think about newspapers and local radio and television stations, we most often think in terms of markets, but when we do we lose sight of two important facts. First, in most of our communities, francophones lack the critical mass for a truly viable advertising market. Second, our French-language media exist to serve not markets, but communities made up of people who are determined to live in French and need these media to find out, in French, what is going on where they live.

We, the 2.6 million francophones living in nine provinces and three territories, need our community newspapers and radio stations. We need Radio-Canada's regional television and radio stations. Even in a digital world, these media have the know-how and the presence in our communities to tell our stories and reflect our realities.

Thank you.

8:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Hedy Fry

Thank you very much. That was very good.

Now, we will go to the Association de la presse francophone.

Monsieur Sonier.

8:55 a.m.

Francis Sonier President, Association de la presse francophone

Ladies and gentlemen of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, thank you for inviting us to appear here today.

My name is Francis Sonier, and I am the president of the Association de la presse francophone. Today I am accompanied by the executive director of the APF, Jean-Patrice Meunier.

The Association de la presse francophone is a group of French-language minority community newspapers. We currently represent 22 newspapers in eight provinces and two territories. French is one of Canada's official languages and an important part of our national identity.

There are francophone communities all across the country. Some are large concentrations of people who speak French, while others are small groups.

Manitoba is an excellent example. It includes Saint-Boniface, the real capital of Manitoba's francophone population, and other smaller francophone communities.

Community newspapers act as hubs for these communities. They are channels through which these French identities assemble and become informed about their own communities. Community newspapers are often the only direct link between these people.

The digital age has brought many people closer together, but reliable high-speed Internet connections are not available in all communities. Access to digital information can be difficult in places where the infrastructure is not present, such as northern Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, or even some areas of Newfoundland and Labrador.

These francophone communities often came out of the history of Canada. As we prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, it is important to note that community newspapers have chronicled that history.

Le Moniteur Acadien, based in Shediac, New Brunswick, will also celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2017. Winnipeg's La Liberté recently marked its centenary. Their respective archives reflect the events, the struggles, and the successes that these communities have seen over the years. Women in Manitoba won the right to vote in 1916, and La Liberté was there. These archives show the unique perspective of a francophone minority community.

Community newspapers bring these communities together and contribute to their vitality. They contribute directly to the local and regional economies by creating jobs, promoting local businesses, or just talking about them.

It would be a mistake to compare a community newspaper, which talks specifically about a given region, with a larger, more general newspaper, which has a broader scope and mandate. La Presse covers all of Quebec. The Globe and Mail is a national newspaper.

A community newspaper has a more limited scope. Certainly, it may talk about the larger francophone population, but only because that affects the local community. That is its mandate, its purpose. The major media and daily newspapers will not cover the lobster festival in Shediac, New Brunswick, or run stories on local issues in Hearst, in northern Ontario.

Community newspapers have news teams on the ground. Over the years, the publishers have learned what people want to know about their communities. These newspapers have a much greater presence than any other existing news infrastructure.

I would also mention that a community newspaper costs very little compared to other news infrastructure, considering its impact on the community.

Not all minority official language media can be compared to media in majority communities, where multiple infrastructures exist. If a newspaper, a radio station, or even a television station were to disappear from a majority community, the impact on the community would be minimal compared to the impact it would have on a minority community.

In a majority community, there is a whole range of alternatives. If the Toronto Star folded, that would have a huge impact, of course, but people would have a number of alternate news sources.

In a minority community, though, the situation is not the same. If L'Aurore boréale, the only French-language newspaper in the Yukon, were to fold, the community would have no way of getting local news.

That is the reality. If community newspapers disappear, who will talk about the latest municipal council decisions, the innovative projects done by local francophone students, business start-ups, works by local artists and the results achieved by young francophone athletes?

These are the things that help build a francophone identity and francophone pride.

Another important and worrisome aspect of our industry can be found in the consolidation of media by large corporate entities. Through happenstance, both APF and QCNA currently represent only newspapers that are not corporately owned. We have observed that when it comes to our particular paradigm of official language newspapers in minority situations, this is the best structure to guarantee access to information in our communities.

Corporations have a duty to their shareholders and not to their communities. Decisions are made on the basis of balance sheets and numbers. L'Express d'Ottawa, for example, our last corporate member, stopped its print issue as a business decision. In Quebec, The Westmount Examiner was shut down in October 2015, after 80 years of existence, as well as its sister publication, The West Island Chronicle. All three closures stem from business decisions by Transcontinental.

On the other hand, when L'Eau vive, the only French-language newspaper in Saskatchewan, announced that it was in financial difficulty and had to stop publishing its print edition last November, it did not disappear for good.

The APF met with the newspaper's managers and offered its advice. The community pulled together, and the newspaper will resume printing this week, which is good news.

Minority newspapers are in crisis. Some publications are in a very precarious situation, as the case of L'Eau vive showed. The decline in federal advertising hurt these publications badly, because revenue dropped very quickly, with no transition period.

The newspapers that belong to the APF have seen their advertising revenue from federal departments and agencies decrease by 73% since 2006. That's right, 73%. Together, the newspapers represented by the APF have lost $1.5 million a year in federal advertising. That total hides the fact that some newspapers have seen their advertising revenue fall to zero or close to zero as a result of these decisions and policies.

What is more, that is not the only source of lost revenue for community newspapers. The new formulas for the aid to publishers program and the Canada periodical fund have also affected the newspapers in the APF. Although some newspapers have seen their funding increase, others have suffered significant losses, and the APF has seen an overall reduction of more than 20% over the years. Four newspapers alone have had to absorb losses of roughly $178,000 a year.

Every drop in revenue has a serious impact on these communities. It may mean one less journalist, contributor, or proofreader. Advertising revenue and financial assistance programs guarantee quality editorial content.

The government mentioned the broader reach of television and the Internet to explain the reduction in advertising spending on minority community newspapers. However, statistics show that people in communities read their community newspapers. As was mentioned previously, not everyone has access to the Internet. Large regions of the country served by our publications have little or no Internet access. How can the government reasonably show that Internet advertising reaches these communities?

According to a study that community media conducted with the support of Canadian Heritage, community newspapers have an average readership ranging from 54% to 83%, depending on the region; 71% of communities appreciate their newspaper and consider it important. Community newspapers have an 89% credibility rating. Even though they may seem pervasive, the Internet and social media do not enjoy such credibility.

For example, in 2009, when the government wanted to tell Canadians about the dangers of H1N1 flu, it published notices in the newspapers, in the midst of the decline in advertising spending.

We are not here just to tell you about problems, but also to offer solutions. Regardless of its purpose, a minority community newspaper is first and foremost a cultural element of that community. It is a reflection of the community. In these newspapers, people in the community express themselves in stories, editorials, and opinion pieces.

We have come up with a few suggestions that are in the document you can read. Don't forget that newspapers are cultural businesses and should be considered as such with Canada Post's help. Canada Post offers preferential rates for books. We would like newspapers to benefit from such rates as well. In addition, we would like to have a fund equivalent to 1% of CBC/Radio-Canada's budget for community newspapers and media.

Thank you.

9:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Hedy Fry

Thank you very much.

Now we have the Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada.

9:05 a.m.

François Côté Secretary General, Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada

Good morning, Madam Chair and committee members.

My name is François Côté, and I am the secretary general of the Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada. With me this morning is Simon Forgues, who is our development and communications officer.

First, we would like to thank you for inviting us to appear. We are with you this morning to show you that more than 20 years after the Internet entered our lives, radio is still the local medium par excellence, especially in communities like ours. However, even though our radio stations play a major role in preserving our language and culture and enhancing the social and economic vitality of our communities, they are going through a difficult time right now, and that is very worrisome. The same is true of our colleagues at the newspapers, as you have heard.

At the ARC, three of our radio stations no longer have paid staff. Five have only one half-time employee, and four others have only one employee. Under the circumstances, it is difficult, if not impossible, for them to carry out the mandate they were given.

How many times have we heard that our French-language community media are perfect indicators of francophone linguistic vitality in Canada? It is often said that if there are French-language radio stations and newspapers like ours in our communities, then they must be alive and well.

Ladies and gentlemen, these indicators of linguistic vitality are increasingly fragile, basically because of a lack of financial resources. At the rate things are going, soon we won't be able to talk about our radio stations and newspapers as proof that French is alive and well in Canada if nothing is done to help them.

Nearly half of our members are in a precarious situation. Many have posted deficits in recent years, largely because of the lack of stable funding and the decrease in federal advertising.

9:05 a.m.

Simon Forgues Development and Communications Officer, Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada

Ironically, despite the virtues that are generally attributed to the new digital platforms, no other medium—I want to stress that—has yet succeeded in reaching our local populations as easily and quickly as radio. All the other media platforms, without exception, require much heavier infrastructure than traditional terrestrial radio and often come with very high production and use costs.

With radio stations such as ours, there are no worries about data packages or amount of bandwidth and no connection speed problems. There is a microphone, a transmitter, a sending antenna, and, at the other end, people who listen while they go about their daily business, wherever they are and whatever they are doing. People just turn the dial and tune in their local radio station. They don't worry about whether they'll have enough data. It's easy. In fact, radio is the one and only medium that enters people's private lives so easily. You can listen to radio in the car, in the shower, on a boat, or at home in the backyard.

The Internet is not a universal cure for all the local news problems. The Internet is one way to get news, but it isn't the only way to do so or to stay in touch with the local community. It complements traditional media.

Every country in the world recommends keeping a battery-powered or crank radio in an emergency kit in the event of a disaster because no other medium holds up in such circumstances. This is one small example of how useful radio is to people. The CRTC decided that Canadian radio stations and television channels should be equipped to transmit alerts to the public in real time because it recognized the importance of traditional media.

9:05 a.m.

Secretary General, Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada

François Côté

In Europe and Asia, the transition from analog to digital has sped up in recent years. In some countries, all radio stations will soon be converted to the digital band and there will be no more analog stations. Norway is one such country. These countries still believe in the potential of terrestrial radio.

In a country the size of ours, where mobile Internet packages are sometimes prohibitively expensive, how can we believe that cellphones, tablets, and laptops are the only ways to share local information? We aren't saying we shouldn't embrace the Internet. All we are saying is that the Internet is not the one and only solution. Universal access to information depends in part on free media such as radio.

Many other countries around the world are similarly working to modernize radio, and for good reason. In 2016, terrestrial radio is still the easiest, fastest, and least expensive way of reaching people as they go about their daily activities.

9:10 a.m.

Development and Communications Officer, Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada

Simon Forgues

Why do industrialized nations such as Great Britain, Norway, and Germany still believe in free terrestrial radio while here in Canada, we think that the answer lies in wired or mobile Internet?

While we are on the subject, it is important to stop thinking that young people are interested only in online radio and don't listen to so-called traditional radio anymore. In Europe, just last fall, a study by Médiamétrie revealed that three-quarters of 15- to 24-year-olds listen to a radio station every day. To the south of us, according to figures from the Pew Research Center, which cites Nielsen, nine out of 10 Americans over the age of 12 listen to AM and/or FM radio every week.

Yes, these people also go online and watch YouTube videos, but they haven't abandoned radio, because they are attached to their favourite station and their community, because radio keeps them informed about their community better than anything else, and because it was recently proven that traditional radio is still the best way to discover new music. All that is primarily because radio is a medium that is both deeply intimate and unifying, a medium that no other has yet been able to supplant when it comes to local impact.

That is why, in communities like ours, it is critical that we not waste such valuable resources that help bond communities together. That is why it is critical to invest in safeguarding our local community media. They are tools that still play a vital role in communities like ours.

9:10 a.m.

Secretary General, Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada

François Côté

How can we do that? We propose that a program to support minority media be set up. The purpose of the program, which would be modelled on the one created by the Government of Quebec, would be to provide basic financial support for minority radio stations and newspapers. The support could range from $40,000 to $60,000 per medium. It would be an operating subsidy that would allow us to carry out our mission in keeping with the station's or newspaper's priorities and goals: hiring or retaining staff, buying equipment, and so on. We are talking about a recurring annual subsidy, core funding that we could count on to keep pursuing our mission.

If we want our radio stations and newspapers to continue to enhance the vitality of official language minority communities, and if the federal government wants to keep using them as proof of the vitality of bilingualism across the country, action must be taken now.

Thank you.

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Hedy Fry

My goodness, that's great. We're two minutes under. Thank you so much. That's very efficient. That's proof that radio is efficient.

We're going to go into what is in effect a seven-minute-per-questioner period. Those seven minutes include answers. I would ask everybody to be as tight as you possibly can.

We will begin with Mr. Samson for the Liberals.

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Thank you very much, Madam Chair. I will try to do justice to the issue.

The presentations certainly gave us a broad overview of the media. Listening to them, I wondered whether I was still living in the 1970s or 1980s. I remember my parents having the same discussion around the table at home and talking about how important it was to have French-language stations and newspapers and access to information in their language at a much more local level.

It makes me sad to hear that we are once again at this same crossroads, to some extent. That worries me. Thank you very much indeed for giving us that information. We need to discuss this issue and make decisions to ensure that minorities will be well represented and have the latest information.

I will start with a question for the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada.

Mrs. Lanthier, you said you had filed a complaint about advertising placement. Have you received a response? What is the status of that complaint?

9:15 a.m.

Chair, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada

Sylviane Lanthier

The investigation is under way, so we have not yet received a response.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

The investigation is under way, but what did you ask for? Do you expect to receive a favourable response?

9:15 a.m.

Chair, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada

Sylviane Lanthier

The complaint has to do with the government's decision to stop or reduce its newspaper and radio advertising. In this complaint, we are asking the government how it made that decision, that is, whether we were consulted and whether any directives were issued that meant that our communities' needs were not taken into consideration when the decision was made. We are therefore asking for reparations and for community newspapers' and radio stations' needs to be taken into consideration.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

You are talking about a subsidy. There is certainly a huge need for such support.

You also talked about high-speed infrastructure. You represent all the communities across Canada. What are they saying? If you had to describe the message they are sending your association in 30 seconds, what would it be?

9:15 a.m.

Chair, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada

Sylviane Lanthier

The communities across Canada want their realities to be reflected in media that they can identify with and that are interested in what they are doing. Radio-Canada has regional radio and television stations, but the community newspapers and radio stations do things no one else does. They cover things no one else is interested in. Sometimes they are the only ones that cover things.

As my colleagues said earlier, radio plays a very important role in helping people discover new music. Without community radio, artists in our communities have no outlets for their music. Community radio stations really provide that outlet. Our children have no way of seeing themselves and promoting their cultural identity when the media are not there to cover what they are doing.

The media play a very, very important role. They enable organizations and people planning events in French to convey information through advertising. That information may be about cultural and community events going on here. People also place ads in our community media.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Thank you very much for that information.

I now have a question for the representative of the Association de la presse francophone. You raised two points that really interest me.

First, you said that community newspapers cost little and have a great deal of impact. I am very interested in that. Second, you defined the words “minority” and “majority”. I associate the loss of a radio station or a newspaper in a majority community with education. There is a definite connection. Minority communities are in dire straits, and there should be a minimum.

All three of you talked about a fund to at least help you survive. You are not asking for the earth; you are asking for enough to survive, at a minimum. Could you elaborate on that?

9:15 a.m.

President, Association de la presse francophone

Francis Sonier

Newspapers don't need fabulous equipment to operate. They mainly need human resources that produce content that is printed on paper or posted on a website, for example. They don't need a lot. It takes human resources. That is where investment is needed. We don't have an antenna or anything like that.

It has been proven that a newspaper is read by two, three, or four people. It passes from hand to hand, and people see themselves in its pages. A newspaper is a living thing. It sits in public places, a school or a lobby, and people read it. It isn't ephemeral, because a newspaper lives on. That is its impact. It costs very little, but it requires human resources.

When the federal government doesn't publish notices in the newspapers, the impact is twofold. First, the notices are not seen by the public and the people are not served. Second, the newspapers suffer a financial hit. Without that advertising revenue, we can't invest in editorial content. There is a dual effect.

Everyone suffers. I don't believe the government is serving the public, especially in minority communities. Newspapers are a good way of reaching those people.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Thank you very much. I appreciate your answer.

I have a very brief question for my radio friends.

Could you please tell me more about the consequences of the concentration of two or three large media companies across Canada?

9:20 a.m.

Secretary General, Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada

François Côté

It affects us because the mandate of these companies eventually fell to the communities. The problem is that we were not given the resources to fulfill this mandate. We are therefore stuck with a very broad mandate, but without any financial resources to be able to give people the information or service they should get. The large players concentrated in large markets and dropped the small markets, which then fell back to us.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Hedy Fry

Thank you, Mr. Côté.

Now we go to Mr. Waugh, for the Conservatives.

March 8th, 2016 / 9:20 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Good morning. Thank you to all three of you for your presentations here this morning.

I'm from Saskatchewan. We have pockets of French, as you know, highly concentrated in some areas like Gravelbourg, Zenon Park, Arborfield, and so on. It's reassuring, I guess, that L'Eau vive will hit the stands once again on Thursday.

We talk about federal funding. It's interesting, because I think French immersion has really picked up steam. I used to be a school board trustee, up until October 19. We've exploded in our province with French immersion.

I have a couple of questions for you. You talked about federal ads and all that. I don't see any support from provincial bodies toward French. French education we struggle with, so I'm assuming we're going to struggle with the television, with the radio, and I know we're struggling with newspapers in our province. While you can throw some darts at the federal government from 2006 on...and I see court cases in our province, French schools against the provincial government, so let's talk about this. You said you had 2.6 million throughout the country, yet I don't see—other than maybe in Quebec, Ontario a little bit, and New Brunswick—support from provincial governments here, stepping forward in the ad situation.

Let's open this can of worms, because provincial governments spend a lot of money from coast to coast to coast. I don't know your source of revenue. I assume you get enough funding here from Canadian Heritage under the APF. We'll ask questions here in the next seven minutes about that.

But I want to know a little bit about provincial. Can you share some of that with me?

9:20 a.m.

Chair, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada

Sylviane Lanthier

Your question is—

9:20 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Let's start with the provincial end of it.