CCAU objects to American control of Canadian broadcaster through proposed CanWest Global takeover of Alliance Atlantis

    The deal is bad news for Canada

    TORONTO, Aug. 10 /CNW/ - The Coalition of Canadian Audio-Visual Unions
(CCAU) is intervening before the CRTC in the yet-to-be approved takeover bid
by CanWest Global and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners of Alliance Atlantis'
"well-branded" specialty channels, including: Showcase, Showcase Diva,
Showcase Action and History Television, all of which primarily program drama
and scripted comedy. Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, a U.S. private equity
firm, is providing a majority of the equity and debt financing for this
$1.6 billion takeover. The CCAU objects to this arrangement since the U.S.
firm would have de facto control of one of Canada's largest private
    "The Canadian Broadcasting Act requires both ownership and control of
Canadian broadcast licensees be in the hands of Canadians," said Maureen
Parker, Executive Director, Writers Guild of Canada. "This is a policy
critical to the very existence of Canadian content on our own airwaves. If the
CRTC approves this transaction, then an American corporation will have a large
stake and powerful voice in what Canadians can watch and when," added Parker.
    "Foreign ownership has been on the radar of creative unions for years,"
said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA National Executive Director. "If decisions about
our broadcasting system are made in corporate boardrooms in New York and Los
Angeles, Canadians will lose their cultural sovereignty and national identity.
We've already seen a significant drop in the creation and broadcast of
original Canadian programming as a result of the CRTC's disastrous 1999
Television Policy. Canadian broadcasters, now more than ever, fill our
airwaves with American reality programs and dramas in primetime. Approving
this transaction will bring us one step closer to total domination by foreign
media giants," added Waddell.
    "The CCAU is extremely concerned about this proceeding," said Monique
Lafontaine, General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs of the
Directors Guild of Canada. "If this application is approved it will set a
dangerous precedent for our broadcasting system. The existing foreign
ownership rules must be upheld - no exception should be made," added
    "This proposed deal threatens to take away more jobs from Canadian
workers in an industry already strapped for funding," said David Hardy,
Business Agent, NABET 700. "We're on a battlefield in our own country - first
the integrity of the CTF is threatened by a proposal to lower Cancon
requirements, and now a Canadian company built by Canadian workers is facing a
takeover by a huge American investment firm footing the bill for CanWest.
Alliance Atlantis is a house Canadians built and this deal threatens to
dismantle it brick by brick," said Hardy.
    "This has been an appalling process considering the complexity of the
application. New documents have been added to the public record at the
eleventh hour without giving interested parties sufficient time to respond,"
said Peter Murdoch, Vice-President Media, CEP, Canada's largest media union.
"What we do know is the public record in this proceeding demonstrates that the
CRTC should reject this transaction. The applicants are clearly abusing the
process and the application itself has become a moving target," added Murdoch.
    The CRTC will hold a public hearing on September 5, 2007. The CCAU member
unions will appear at the union and speak to the detrimental effects of this
proposed takeover.

    The CCAU is a coalition of 10 Canadian audio-visual unions: The Alliance
of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), the Directors Guild
of Canada (DGC), the National Association of Broadcast Employees and
Technicians, Local 700 CEP (NABET), the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC), and the
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) are
participating in the intervention before the CRTC. The other members of the
CCAU are the American Federation of Musicians - Canada (AFM Canada), Union des
artistes (UdA), Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec
(ARRQ), Association Québécoise des techniciens de l'image et du son (AQTIS),
and Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma (SARTeC).

For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACTS: Kim Hume, ACTRA Public
Relations, (416) 642-6710,; David Kinahan, Writers Guild of
Canada, (416) 979-7909 ext 5234,; Monique Lafontaine,
Directors Guild of Canada, General Counsel & Director of Regulatory Affairs,
(416) 482-6640 ext. 225,; Peter Murdoch, Vice-President,
Media, Vice-president, CEP, (905) 516-5720,; David Hardy,
Business Agent, NABET 700, (416) 536-4827,

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