Heritage Minister asked to repeal CRTC 2017-198, respect Chiefs of Ontario, and award Ontario FM licences to Wawatay

OTTAWA, June 21, 2017 /CNW/ - Pierre Nantel, NDP MP (Longueuil - Saint Hubert), Critic for Culture and Heritage, received the media on National Aboriginal Day (June 21), with Wawatay Communications Society's Mike Metatawabin, President, and John Gagnon, CEO, in the press conference room in the House of Commons. Wawatay announced cross-party support from several MPs asking the Minister of Canadian Heritage to repeal the CRTC 2017-198 decision left behind by former Chair Jean-Pierre Blais. This last broadcasting decision leaves Minister Mélanie Joly a precarious situation where a semi-judicial body has made a ruling that exceeds the bounds of Canada's constitutional duty to consult Indigenous nations. CRTC 2017-198 awarded radio licences to APTN for two stations in Ontario (Ottawa and Toronto), a decision that disregards the sovereign rights of the Chiefs of Ontario, who supported Wawatay's applications for the licences.

Mike Metatawabin, Wawatay President, declared: "We are here to state we feel the decision is wrong and we would like to appeal the decision. We have been in the business for over forty years."

John Gagnon, CEO for Wawatay Communications Society, observed: "We have a letter in our application on the public record that states the Chiefs of Ontario voted unanimously in assembly and chose to support Wawatay… What we find out now is that the CRTC has no policy, practice or procedure to even consider the due diligence to do the duty to consult."

Wawatay shared the following points:

1-Wawatay calls on the Governor in Council, Minister of Heritage, or interim CRTC Chair to overrule CRTC 2017-198--given the TRC, UNDRIP, and the consent of the Chiefs of Ontario--and issue the licenses to Wawatay.

2-Only Wawatay has consulted and received consent from Chiefs of Ontario and all representative Indigenous nations.

3-While APTN/FPR is proposing top-forty stations, Wawatay's programming will strengthen Indigenous languages, broadcasting over 40 hours per week in-language, and will present more than 30 hours of news.

4-Wawatay announces a special broadcast on July 1, 2017, in Ottawa and Toronto, covering "Unsettling Canada 150" and linking with Nuxalk Radio in Bella Coola (BC) and Wawatay's Timmins and Sioux Lookout studios.


CRTC decision - http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2017/2017-198.htm 
Press Conference - http://www.cpac.ca/en/ 
Nuxalk Radio - http://nuxalkradio.com/events/2017/07/indigenous-day-action


SOURCE Wawatay Communications Society

For further information: John Gagnon, CEO Wawatay, 1-800-243-9059 & johng@wawatay.on.ca

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