|by:||Feb 5, 2007|
The status of the Canadian Television Fund and its bank account remained uncertain as Playback went to press, despite efforts by Heritage Minister Bev Oda to rein in Shaw Communications and Videotron.
Oda was to sit down on Jan. 30 with reps from the rebellious cable companies and other stakeholders to address their recent pullout from CTF.
Montreal-based Videotron last month sided with Shaw and suspended its payments to the CTF, taking issue with its structure and governance. Shaw backed out in December. Combined, the cable outfits contribute around $70 million a year to CTF.
The results of the meeting remained unclear at Playback's press time, though a second sit-down between Oda and CTF was scheduled for later in the week.
Upon stepping into the CTF fray, Oda reaffirmed Ottawa's commitment to the fund by announcing that Stephen Harper's government has renewed its annual $100-million CTF contribution for the next two years.
"I want to reassure Canadians that the government continues to support high-quality Canadian television programming," said Oda.
The withdrawal by Shaw and Videotron has caused turmoil in the TV sector. CTF board member Claire Samson told Playback in an earlier interview that the lack of funding will have a colossal effect on production.
"If nothing is done between now and the end of March, there will be a shortfall of $25 million," said Samson. "Some shows will not be done, others in production will be cancelled."