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Government to look at Italian-language options, "on a priority basis"

7/18/2004

OTTAWA - Confirming what the cable industry already knew, outgoing Canadian Heritage Minister Hélène Chalifour Scherrer issued a statement on Friday saying there is nothing cabinet can do about the CRTC's decision on RAI International, but she did add that the government is committed to reviewing some of the rules of the TV game, and soon.

"Under the Broadcasting Act, the decision regarding RAI International is not appealable to the Governor in Council (Cabinet)," said the press release.

"The CRTC recognizes that today's decisions will disappoint many, and has announced its intention to conduct a review of its approach to authorizing non-Canadian television services. The Government strongly welcomes this decision," it continues.

"The current CRTC approach has been in place since 1984 and may not reflect either the important technological advances that have occurred since nor the increased demand for non-Canadian third language services. The Government looks forward to seeing this review as soon as possible and will consider any necessary follow-up policy measures.

"With respect to RAI, the Government made a commitment during the election campaign to take steps to ensure the provision of Italian language programming services in Canada. The Prime Minister will expect the new Minister of Canadian Heritage to bring forward options to address the issue on a priority basis," it added.

The new Minister of Canadian Heritage will have much on his or her plate, whomever the choice ends up being (MPs such as Albina Guarnieri [Mississauga East-Cooksville], Liza Frulla [Jeanne Le Ber], Mauril Belanger [Ottawa-Vanier] and Ken Dryden [York Centre] have cropped up in Ottawa as potential candidates for the post).

Minister Chalifour Scherrer was not re-elected in her Louis-Hebert riding.

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