Volume #21 - 354.|
RELATIONS AVEC LES ÉTATS-UNIS
QUESTIONS DE DÉFENSE
TÉLÉVISION SUR LES BASES AMÉRICAINES
Extrait des conclusions du Cabinet|
le 12 octobre 1955|
OPERATION OF TELEVISION TRANSMITTERS AT CERTAIN U.S. MILITARY|
INSTALLATIONS IN CANADA
23. The Prime Minister referring to discussion at the meeting of July 28th, 1955, said the United States had requested an informal expression of opinion as to whether there would be any objection in principle to the establishment of small television installations by U.S. armed forces at the leased bases at Argentia and Stephenville in Newfoundland, and at the base at Goose Bay. It had been indicated at the same time that, if these stations were approved, a further request might be made for a station at Fort Churchill.
The type of installation provided by the U.S. for isolated military bases costs approximately $50,000 had a power of 50 watts and a range of about three to five miles which could be modified to some extent. These stations used primarily kinescope recordings but had a limited capacity for transmitting local presentations. They were also required to comply with local regulations. Authority existed, under the Radio Act, to license them if considered desirable. However, the Minister of Transport would have to make certain modifications to the regulations for issuing licences and the regulations, established by order in council, concerning the employment of Canadian operators would also have to be amended. The Department of External Affairs had proposed that, if the stations were to be established, they should be licensed in the same manner as other stations, and be subject to the same general conditions except where it would be inappropriate to enforce a particular one, for example, that respecting free-time political broadcasts. At Goose Bay, the R.C.A.F. should perhaps be represented on a management committee to be responsible to the R.C.A.F. commander. An appropriate amount of Canadian programme material would be required to be shown. Finally, it should be made clear that, at the conclusion of the licensing period, it might be necessary, because of domestic needs, to cease operations.
The departments of National Defence and Transport had been consulted on the matter, but the conclusions reached were those of External Affairs.
An explanatory memorandum had been circulated.
(Memorandum, Secretary of State for External Affairs, Sept. 27, 1955 - Cab. Doc. 203-55?)
24. The Minister of Finance said he hoped it would be possible to avoid the annual costs of $50,000 to the C.B.C. involved in the production of Canadian telecast material for the stations. At the same time, it would be desirable to ensure that there was a reasonable measure of Canadian content in the programmes. The request brought to light once again the problem of C.B.C.'s increasing costs, and pointed up the necessity of deciding, as soon as possible, on the composition of the Royal Commission to consider television and to examine the operations of the corporation.
25. During the discussion the following points emerged:
(a) If the provision of appropriate programme material for each privately owned television station cost the C.B.C. approximately $50,000 a year, there was little wonder that these stations were so profitable.
(b) On no account did it seem desirable to agree to a station at Argentia, which was within the range of the C.B.C. station at St. John's.
(c) A decision on the Goose Bay station should not be reached until the Minister of National Defence was present. In any event, the R.C.A.F. did not wish to be associated with its management since this would lead to pressure for stations at other Canadian service establishments. This particular difficulty might, however, be met by having a C.B.C., Transport, or civilian National Defence official on the committee of management.
(d) It was possible that there would be a private television station at Cornerbrook in the near future. In such circumstances, the U.S. should not be permitted to install a station at Harmon Field. On the other hand, U.S. servicemen there were in a relatively isolated area. Nearby were some thousands of Canadian citizens with little prospect of ever having television. If the proposed U.S. service was good, with reasonable Canadian content in its programme, and if no private person was licensed to operate in Cornerbrook, the request might be approved.
(e) The U.S. armed forces radio station now in St. John's should be closed down if the new television stations came into operation. There would be no public re-action now against doing this.
(f) The Department of Transport did not object to the proposal providing the stations were low powered and the wave lengths could be altered, if required. However, when recent amendments were made to the Radio Act, Parliament had been informed that licences would be granted for non-Canadian stations only to meet strict defence needs. If, in fact, this statement of policy had been made, it would be necessary to advise members of the changed circumstances.
26. The Cabinet,
(a) deferred consideration to a later meeting of the United States request for the establishment of television transmitters at the U.S. naval station at Argentia, at Ernest Harmon Air Force base near Stephenville, and at Goose Bay; and,
(b) agreed to consider, at an early date, the composition and terms of reference of the proposed Royal Commission on Television. ...