Defending Radio Canada International - Canada's Voice to the World
Canadian Heritage Minister Sheila Copps on RCI

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Canadian Heritage Press Release, February 26, 1998:
"RCI has been a proud ambassador of Canada around the world for 53 years.
This investment in its infrastructure will keep the service strong and viable in the digital future," Minister Copps said.  "The Government's decision to keep RCI alive responded to strong public support for our voice abroad, our international broadcaster," said Minister Copps. "To make that policy decision a reality, RCI must have the tools to carry Canada's voice into the future."

Canadian Heritage Website, May 2, 2001:
The CBC is mandated under the Broadcasting Act to provide an international service.
Radio Canada International (RCI) is the chosen instrument for implementing that mandate. CBC receives dedicated funding of $15.52 million per year for RCI.

Sheila Copps in an interview with RCI on May 3, 2001:
….I think the government has had a chance to understand and rethink the importance of RCI as an international voice for Canada to the world. And
the investment that we’re making in RCI, is part of that permanent package.

….Radio Canada International has been across the world, and not just on the [Inter]net, but also on short-wave…[in] many languages…600 million radios, and literally billions of listeners that are covered by those short-wave radios.

And we think
in the digital world, we’re moving towards digitization, but we’re certainly not there yet. And we want to make sure that when we move toward the computer age, that we don’t leave whole population groups out of the loop because they don’t have access to that technology...

I think that was one of the things we were able to discover when we did our initial analysis into RCI. As you know Canada is a fairly hotly wired nation…and sometimes we think that’s the way the world is. You only have to travel to parts of Central and South America, or even parts of Eastern Europe and certainly, Africa, to see there are many, many millions of people who still depend on short-wave radio for that reliable service…

We are looking at the issues of how RCI and Radio-Canada can work together on the international scene...

[on RCI independence from CBC:]

Well I think that’s something the CBC and RCI will have to decide on their own political level…I don’t think having two stand alone institutions necessarily strengthens the capacity to tell our stories.
I think what you want is: you want to make sure you’re not going to be supplanted by domestic programming.

But you also, I think, recognize that there is a tremendous asset of a billion dollars worth of great potential story ideas, programming ideas, and culture on the CBC that should also be accessible through RCI.

French interview (this not a translation but another interview)

Has the Minister changed her position?

her reply in the House of Commons on June 13 to a question from the opposition Bloc Québécois party.

See also the
response of her Senior Policy Advisor on behalf of the Minister on July 7.
En français

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