Calgary - Most voters (66%) believe broadcasting and communications are too important to our national security and cultural sovereignty to allow foreign control of Canadian companies in this sector, according to a new poll commissioned by ACTRA, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, and Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.
Canada's leading voices in culture and telecommunications released the survey today at a public meeting today in Calgary where they launched a campaign called Keep It Canadian in support of current laws which restrict foreign ownership of Canadian broadcast and telephone industries.
"Powerful lobbyists for the cable industry are at work right now, quietly trying to persuade the federal government to allow Americans to buy them out. If they succeed, there's nothing to stop foreign companies from taking control of Canadian media and telecommunications too," said Ian Morrison, spokesperson for Friends.
The results show that 62% of Canadians are more likely to vote for candidates who oppose giving control of Canadian media to foreign interests, up slightly from December 2003 when this question was last posed. Only 19% are more likely to vote for a candidate who is in favour of allowing foreign companies to own more of Canada's broadcasting and telephone companies.
"At a time when the country could be thrown into an election at any moment, the poll contains a strong message to politicians who may favour opening Canada's media to foreign ownership. There is no political upside for any party to support the sell-off of our media," said Peter Murdoch, Vice President - Media for CEP.
The results also found 82% of Canadians (54% strongly) agree that it is important that the Canadian government work to maintain and build a culture and identity distinct from the United States.
"Most Canadians want action from Ottawa to build a culture and identity distinct from the United States, whose television and movies dominate the Canadian cultural landscape," said Stephen Waddell, National Executive Director of ACTRA.
The survey reveals that the opinion of voters who lean toward supporting the Conservative Party mirrors or is greater than the general population when it comes to retaining control of Canadian communications and media companies.
"Voters the Conservative Party needs to grow their support levels in the next election value Canada's cultural sovereignty," said Ian Morrison.
The issue of foreign ownership is in play right now. Currently, the federal government has established a panel to review the policy that limits the share a foreign company can hold in a Canadian media or telecommunication company to 46.7%. At the same time, transactions like the proposed purchase of specialty TV broadcaster Alliance Atlantis by CanWest Global stretch this policy to the breaking point because the lion's share of financing for the deal comes from the United States.
The data was gathered between November 15th to November 25th 2007 through Harris/Decima's weekly teleVox, the company's national omnibus survey. Results are based on a sample of 2,052 Canadians, and the corresponding margin of error is ±2.2%, 19 times out of 20.
For information: Peter Murdoch, CEP 905-516-5720 cell
Susan Ponting, ACTRA: 416-644 1519 cell: 416-897 7028
Jim Thompson, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting: 613-447-9592
Complete survey results are available at www.friends.ca, www.actra.ca, www.cep.ca
Related Documents: December 31, 2007
- Podcast - Keep it Canadian Event
Video presentation of an event in Calgary, AB on Dec 5, 2007 to keep the ownership of Canadian media in Canadian hands.
December 13, 2007
: COMMENTARY: Keep It Canadian by Ian Morrison
Poll commissioned by FRIENDS, ACTRA and CEP says 62% of Canadians are more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes more foreign ownership of Canadian broadcasting and telephone companies.
December 6, 2007
- Toronto Star
: Opponents of Alliance sale flag poll results by Rita Trichur
FRIENDS, ACTRA, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada have released poll results saying that Canadians believe cultural sovereignty ought to trump foreign ownership of domestic media.
December 5, 2007 - Canadian Press: National identity distinct from the U.S. important to Canadians: Decima poll by Lee-Anne Goodman
A new poll says eighty-two per cent of Canadians feel the government should make serious efforts to sustain a Canadian culture that's separate from the U.S.
December 5, 2007 - CBC News: Canadians oppose foreign control of media: pollDecember 5, 2007 - Opinion Poll - Foreign Ownership of Canadian Media and Communications
A new poll says the majority of Canadians oppose foreign ownership of the media, telephone and cable firms, and believe the government should play a role in preserving Canada's cultural identity.
Poll results show allowing foreign interests to control Canadian media and telecom companies may be a poor strategy for Conservative growth.
December 5, 2007
- Opinion Poll - Foreign Ownership of Canadian Broadcasting and Telephone Companies
Executive Summary of a Harris/Decima poll commissioned by Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, ACTRA, and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada December 5, 2007
- Interview - Business News Network, Squeeze Play
Ian Morrison, FRIENDS spokesperson, speaks to hosts Amanda Lang and Kevin O'Leary about foreign ownership of Canadian media companies. December 5, 2007
- Photos - Keep it Canadian Event
Photos from the Keep it Canadian event in Calgary, Alberta