Evidence of meeting #8 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 media.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Walter Duszara  Board Secretary, Quebec Community Groups Network
Hugh Maynard  Past President, Quebec Community Groups Network
Ian Morrison  Spokesperson, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting
Peter Miller  Expert on Local Broadcasting, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting
Ann Mainville-Neeson  Vice President, Broadcasting Policy and Regulatory Affairs, TELUS
Frédéric April  Manager, maCommunauté, TELUS Télé Optik, TELUS

10:15 a.m.

Vice President, Broadcasting Policy and Regulatory Affairs, TELUS

Ann Mainville-Neeson

Generally we pay the producers who have their own equipment.

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Okay, so that's what you're using.

10:15 a.m.

Vice President, Broadcasting Policy and Regulatory Affairs, TELUS

Ann Mainville-Neeson

These are small producers who have their own equipment and generally have their staff. They hire their own actors. They hire their own producers and writers, depending on the programming that they create.

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

It's interesting. The CRTC was talking about high speed Internet yesterday, and they kind of backed away from that. What are your thoughts on that, because you're not reaching a lot of people, other than in Rimouski, Quebec, for an example?

10:15 a.m.

Vice President, Broadcasting Policy and Regulatory Affairs, TELUS

Ann Mainville-Neeson

What are our thoughts on high speed Internet?

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Yes, on high speed Internet, because if you're playing stuff on YouTube and you're in rural Quebec, rural Alberta, rural B.C., you need high speed Internet to download a lot of this stuff.

10:15 a.m.

Vice President, Broadcasting Policy and Regulatory Affairs, TELUS

Ann Mainville-Neeson

We absolutely agree with that.

In fact, most recently we announced a $4.9 billion investment in Alberta, throughout the province, to increase our fibre optics in all of the communities. Announcements were out last year for Quebec, and previously in British Columbia. We're investing billions of dollars into the network that will provide the highest speeds possible.

So do we believe in high speed Internet? Absolutely. We also believe that private investment is the best way to achieve the highest connectivity for our country.

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

That's good. Thank you.

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Hedy Fry

Thank you.

Now, Mr. Nantel, for the New Democratic Party.

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Thank you for being here with us this morning.

Like all businesses that create networks, you are facing challenges. Indeed, trying to install fibre optics and being told by the CRTC that this will be open to competition as soon as the installation is complete makes things more difficult from the business perspective.

I want to thank you, because in my opinion you are among those companies that have walked the talk. You decided to invest in Quebec and to acquire QuebecTel. You created an impressive number of jobs. You cover all of the 411 service in North America. Indeed, if someone dials 411 in Chicago, the call goes through you.

10:15 a.m.

Vice President, Broadcasting Policy and Regulatory Affairs, TELUS

Ann Mainville-Neeson

I am not 100% sure, but I believe that is the case.

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

I think so. Some members of our staff who know the region well told me this.

Among wireless providers, you have always been seen as people who did not hesitate to stray from the beaten path. For instance, the way you facilitate access to your subscribers through Télé Optik is really innovative.

You answered my colleagues' questions well. You offer media space to producers, and you provide production budgets.

Ms. Dabrusin asked you about monetization. On the Internet, when you put things on YouTube, do you receive a part of the advertising revenues? I suppose you do, just as anyone would. Even if these are non-profit services, I imagine that a small part of the budget is nevertheless generated by publicity sales on YouTube.

10:15 a.m.

Vice President, Broadcasting Policy and Regulatory Affairs, TELUS

Ann Mainville-Neeson

In fact, we do not sell any advertising as such.

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Indeed.

10:15 a.m.

Vice President, Broadcasting Policy and Regulatory Affairs, TELUS

Ann Mainville-Neeson

Since we do have a YouTube service, it may generate some small returns, but they are really small.

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

As I was saying earlier, you have invested a lot of money. You also talked about major investments in Quebec by 2020. We are talking about $2 billion dollars.

Is it realistic to think that you will make the same kind of investments in other markets in Canada?

10:20 a.m.

Vice President, Broadcasting Policy and Regulatory Affairs, TELUS

Ann Mainville-Neeson

We announced this for Quebec last year and we have just made an announcement for Alberta. We have already made announcements and we are going to continue to do so. We continue to invest, year after year, because we need more and more bandwidth. It has become and continues to be extremely important in the online services domain, whether we are talking about media, banking services, government services or any other service of that type. So we will continue to make the necessary investments to meet the demand.

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

I would like to know if you have become familiar with the community aspect, because the purpose of the study is to ensure that we will preserve two important elements. First the local dimension, local news, but also the dimension of language, spoken language, be it English or French. There is a vitality in the communities.

I come from Edmonton—everyone probably remembers that—where francophone communities are facing impossible challenges when it comes to the survival of their media.

Do you live in a community with this kind of issue? Do you live in Montreal, Rimouski or Toronto?

10:20 a.m.

Vice President, Broadcasting Policy and Regulatory Affairs, TELUS

Ann Mainville-Neeson

I did not understand your question.

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

I would like to know if you live in one of those communities. Locally, I think that Telus has always had a very innovative vision. The fact that you do not produce content is refreshing, because it means you can have a neutral perspective on the situation. You are not trying to place your content.

At the same time, in the context of this study, we wonder if you would have some comments to make on the measures to be taken or recommendations to make to our committee on what it should do to ensure the survival of our local information and our local media.

10:20 a.m.

Vice President, Broadcasting Policy and Regulatory Affairs, TELUS

Ann Mainville-Neeson

In my opinion, the most important thing is to maintain the independence of the information, and several sources of information, so as to ensure that the information is not entirely controlled by the extremely concentrated media in Canada.

Whether we are talking about the written press or television or radio, there is enormous concentration. And so it is important to maintain independence through public broadcasters like Radio-Canada/CBC, but also through services like Optik Local.

Ultimately, it is important to have other sources of information besides vertically integrated media. It goes without saying that when there is a concentration of media, especially when there is a vertical integration where networks belong to the same people who own the media themselves, there is enormous control. It is very important that Canadians be given another source of information.

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

I may have a minute and a half left. Perhaps the gentleman will be able to answer my question.

Regarding peak viewing hours on your network, do you see a major congestion at 7:15, in the early evening, when everyone makes a beeline for the video on demand service?

April 12th, 2016 / 10:20 a.m.

Frédéric April Manager, maCommunauté, TELUS Télé Optik, TELUS

No. We have no congestion problem. The service we offer meets the demand.

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

I didn't think you would say that you couldn't meet the demand. Everyone wants to say that the service never slows down when many people are using the system. However, do you see an increase? For instance, Pierre Dion from Québecor said that YouTube and Netflix generate 41% of the demand at 7:10 p.m. on Wednesday.

10:20 a.m.

Manager, maCommunauté, TELUS Télé Optik, TELUS

Frédéric April

There is no doubt that we have prime time hours when we see an increase in the ratings. It is generally similar to what happens on other networks. I can speak for the maCommunauté channel, where I see a real increase during peak hours.