Toronto ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) says the cancellation of Global s only Canadian drama series, Blue Murder, and CTV s Cold Squad are signs that Canadian English drama is in a state of emergency, and that the blame lies at the feet of broadcasters.|
The crisis has spiked into a full-blown emergency. It s absolutely shameful that Canadian broadcasters can t support two long-running series that broadcasters admit Canadians were watching, said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA Executive Director. Once again, Canadian audiences and creators have fallen victim to broadcasters hunger for profits. I guess doubling their profits last year just wasnt good enough.
Since the CRTC s 1999 TV policy decision, private broadcasters have been able to satisfy minimal CRTC content requirements by filling their schedules with cheap reality-style programming and simulcasting U.S. product in order to gain massive profits. As a consequence, Canadian dramatic programming is disappearing from the airwaves. ACTRA is calling on the CRTC to bring back the spending and content requirements it dropped in 1999 and require broadcasters to air a minimum number of hours of original Canadian drama during prime time.
Last year s devastating cuts to the Canadian Television Fund also contributed to the decline in Canadian production. This year, the fund is $37.5 million short of where it was two years ago, resulting in the loss of hundreds of hours of programming, thousands of jobs, and millions in economic activity.
Clearly the CTF must be given long-term stable funding in the upcoming federal budget, as Prime Minister Paul Martin has promised, said Waddell. However, broadcasters cant use the shortfall in the CTF as a scapegoat to shirk their responsibility to support Canadian productions, especially at a time when their pockets are bulging with profits reaped from airing American programming.
ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is a national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 21,000 members across Canada - the foundation of Canada s highly acclaimed professional performing community. ACTRA celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2003.