OTTAWA - Leader of the Opposition Stephen Harper says his party is committed to public broadcasting and the need for regulatory reform of the industry to respond to a rapidly changing broadcasting environment. He spoke at the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame Luncheon yesterday.
"We are very fortunate, as consumers and as a society, to have access to a balanced mix of private, public and specialty services. A Conservative government would respect and protect that balance, while laying in place a direction for its evolution," Harper said. "Any consideration of the broadcasting environment in Canada should be informed by the profound revolution that has taken place in communications technology, and the commercial and societal changes it has brought about over the course of our lifetime."
Harper added, "There should be programming and service choices that reflect the education, information and entertainment demands of all
Canadians while maintaining a true public broadcaster.
"We believe a review of the Broadcasting Act is necessary, given the changing environment in which it must be implemented. It makes no sense to me that government policies would inhibit or reduce the utilization of new technologies in the provision of broadcasting services. This will only encourage Canadians to by-pass the Canadian system by accessing foreign services available through less easily regulated new technologies such as satellites and the internet."
Harper concluded, "It is ultimately futile, especially in light of the emergence of new technologies, to try and keep out competition. A better way to go is to increase flexibility, lessen the regulatory burden and streamline government intervention and processes. A Conservative government would enable the entire broadcasting industry to utilize new technologies to achieve its public and private objectives.
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