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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Link: 5 Ways Bell Media, Rogers and Shaw Can Save Themselves

From The TV Addict:

5 Ways Bell Media, Rogers and Shaw Can Save Themselves
If this week’s unfortunate culling of hundreds of jobs (and counting) by Bell Media is an indication of anything, it’s that broadcasters in Canada are not doing well. Advertising is down, cord cutting is up and it would appear that things are going to get a lot worse before they get a lot better (Just ask the newspaper industry). As such, your very own TV Addict thought now might be as good a time as any to offer up some unsolicited advice to Canadian corporations. Namely, Bell Media (CTV), Rogers (CityTV) and Shaw (Global). Continue reading.

Review: CBC Firsthand – The Oka Legacy

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The documentary opens at the moment when the  Sûreté du Québec (SQ) supported by the Groupe d`Intervention deployed tear gas and concussion grenades at The Pines, Kanehsatake. This specific assault was followed by a  prolonged gun fire exchange that resulted in the only casualty directly related to the crisis; the tragic death of Corporal Marcel Lemay. It was also this offensive that catapulted peaceful protests into a lengthy military standoff that in the end involved more soldiers than Canada sent to Kuwait. This was the threat that motivated people across Canada to branch out in response to the crisis.

Award-winning documentary film-maker Sonia Bonspille-Boileau takes us on a journey for knowledge and understanding as she carefully weaves her tale. Here, Bonspille-Boileau examines the legacy of the Oka crisis from three distinct perspectives: her personal experiences as a child during the crisis, those who were directly affected by the events, and those who were moved to action from outside the situation at large.

The first segment is from the perspective of a child (Bonspille- Boileau herself) as the timeline is retold. We are reminded of Oka’s municipal plans to expand a private golf course and luxury housing project onto unceded Mohawk lands; lands that included  Kanehsatake’s sacred burial grounds. Bonspille-Boileau explains how this event affected so many “people who fought, people who lost, people who witnessed and were inspired to do great things. Their journeys of overcoming hardships are just a small example of the bigger picture; of how that summer people stood up and helped change a nation”.

The remaining  segments are devoted to the responses of  others, who  either directly or indirectly experienced this pivotal  point in First Nations/non-Indigenous relations and have since branched out in their own directions as a result. The resistance demonstrated by the Mohawk Warriors of Kanehsatake ultimately acted as a seed of understanding for those we meet as they continue to stand up to the colonialism prevalent in Canada today.

We are introduced to  Clifton Nicholas, a documentary film-maker, who was 18 at the time of the crisis. Nicholas describes the events as he lived them as a Mohawk Warrior from behind the barricades. Nicholas provides what I feel is one of the most important statements in this documentary. He recalls, “I’m proud to have been there, but those days are done. I’m a film-maker; I do documentary film-making. I find I can do a lot more about things with a camera in my hand than with an AK47. I have more power; I am actually more dangerous with a camera.”

We  also meet Francine Lemay, a non-Indigenous woman, and the sister of  slain Corporal Marcel Lemay. Lemay shares both her  heartache of  the very public loss of her brother and her pathway to understanding and knowledge. During her personal journey of reconciliation, Ms. Lemay undertook the task to translate the book  At The Woods Edge: An Anthology of the History of the People of Kanehsatake, by Brenda Gabriel and  Arlette Kawanatatie Van den Hende into French so others could learn the whole story. This book–also a pivotal read for Bonspille-Boileua’s own journey–is a written account  of the oral history of the Kanehsatake Mohawks written following the crisis by community elders.   Lemay now recognizes how public opinion was shaped by the mass media in order to serve political interests and  as a result undertook this project in an effort to heal the rift between Quebecois and Mohawks.

We meet others. Melissa Mollen-Dupuis from northern Quebec, who as a child watched the Oka crisis unfold on her television and has since become the leader of the Quebec chapter of Idle No More. And Waneek Horn-Miller  who lived the Oka crisis from behind the barricades as a teenager. Horn-Miller went on to co-captain Canada’s 2000 Olympic women’s water polo team in Sydney and later became a motivational speaker.

The final segment focused on the idea of legacy itself. We are told that for those who lived through the Kanehsatake resistance, the legacy of Oka was an awakening: of the First Nations people,  of Canada, and to heal.  This event that captured the attention  of news media across Canada was the fire that sparked a 1000 more fires in the hope that the lives  of future generations will be better.  Nations from across the country stood up in solidarity with Kanehsatake; they found their voices  then, so that they can continue to fight for their rights across Canada today.


Bonspille-Boileau has, with her gift as a story-teller/film maker, told not just the stories of those who experienced Oka  but she also demonstrated how this one event  led to larger movements in Canada. As a result of the Oka crisis, the Mulroney government initiated the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People whose final report ultimately led to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and that final report which was released earlier this year. Idle No More and MMIW are also movements that are a direct result of the Oka crisis.  Bonspille-Boileau identifies this crisis as the moment when Indigenous people in Canada renounced their shame, blossomed as a people, and found their pride.

In a country whose history texts continue to teach students the history of colonization from the European settlers perspective,  it is refreshing to see Canada’s television network (CBC) feature a documentary created by an Indigenous woman, that tells the story about a critical moment in recent Indigenous history from the Indigenous perspective, and is produced by an  Aboriginal-owned TV and film production company. If Oka was a moment of awakening to begin to heal; the process that created this documentary  is itself representative of that same legacy.

In Bonspille-Boileau’s own words, the Oka Crisis “wasn’t just about taking a stand for a forest and a burial ground, it was and still is about getting rid of the shame, about re-telling our story, and about fighting for what is right.”

Watch The Oka Legacy online at CBC’s website.

Comments and queries for the week of November 20

CTV orders serialized drama with Giles Blunt’s Cardinal

Never read the book and crime procedurals aren’t really my thing normally, but it sounds mildly interesting since they want to avoid clichés. And they are clearly pulling the crew from established strong shows. Six episodes isn’t too much of a commitment either. Might give it a shot if I remember it later on, but I’m sure you’ll cover it here! —DanAmazing

You bet we’ll be covering Cardinal here; look for upcoming news, reviews and—fingers crossed—maybe a visit to the set.

Is House of Bryan the Last Straw for Bryan and Sarah?

Now that their new house is all done, I would love to see pictures of all the rooms. —Wendy

Us too! Keep an eye out on and let us know if they post a gallery there.

Murdoch Mysteries‘ new kid on the block

Enjoyed meeting Mouna! Please edit typo in first sentence. —Lin

Thanks for the eagle eye!

Got a comment or question about Canadian TV? or via @tv_eh.

Corus to discontinue Movie Central, Encore Avenue, HBO Canada in Western Canada

From a media release:

Corus Entertainment Makes Strategic Decision to Deepen Focus on Core National Media Brands and Exit Regional Pay TV Business

Corus Entertainment Inc. announced today that, as part of its plan to strategically invest in and further optimize its core national media brands for future growth, it intends to discontinue its Pay TV business in Western Canada, which includes Movie Central, Encore Avenue and HBO Canada.

“After an extensive strategic review of our business, we made the decision to strengthen our focus on one of our biggest growth opportunities, our powerful national media brands targeted to kids, women and families,” said Doug Murphy, President and Chief Executive Officer, Corus Entertainment. “Therefore, we have decided to exit our regional Pay TV business concurrent with Bell Media’s plans to expand their premium offering nationally. We have always believed that the best way to serve Pay TV subscribers is through a national operator and brand.”

To ensure continuity for subscribers, Corus will continue to operate Movie Central, Encore Avenue and HBO Canada until Bell Media’s national Pay TV service is available in Western Canada. Added Doug Murphy, “We value our long and successful partnership with Bell and wish them every success as they extend their Pay TV offering to serve all Canadians.”

Corus will receive cash consideration of $211 million Cdn from Bell Media to assist in their national expansion, valued at an adjusted F2015 EBITDA1 multiple for Pay TV of 6.7x. The cash will be used to invest in the advancement of Corus’ strategic priorities and retire debt.

1 Segment profit (EBITDA) does not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS. The Company reports on segment profit because it is a key measure used to evaluate performance. For definitions and explanations, see discussion under the Key Performance Indicators section of the 2015 Report to Shareholders. Corus Entertainment Inc. reports in Canadian dollars.

Bell Media and HBO to embark on new original co-production partnership

From a media release:

Bell Media, Canada’s leading broadcaster, and HBO, the world’s most successful pay TV service, announced today an unprecedented agreement in which Bell Media will become the exclusive Canadian home of all HBO programming on all subscription platforms into the next decade.

Under the comprehensive, long-term agreement, the first of its kind for HBO in Canada, Bell Media will have the ability to deliver current-season, past-season, and library HBO programming exclusively on its linear, on-demand, and over-the-top (OTT) platforms in English and French. The agreement also marks the first time HBO has granted exclusive subscription video on demand (SVOD) rights for first-run programming throughout Canada. As a result, Bell Media will have the flexibility to provide current HBO content such as GAME OF THRONES, GIRLS, and VEEP over-the-top in Canada on its platforms. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

BCE announced today that Bell Media will expand The Movie Network into a national pay TV service and become the sole operator of HBO Canada. As a result, all HBO content will be delivered nationwide by one company for the first time ever in Canada. French-language HBO programming will continue to be seen on Bell Media’s Super Écran pay service.

Bell Media and HBO also announced today a new original production development program, with the goal of co-producing premium, made-in-Canada content for the world stage.

Bell Media and HBO will further bolster their new partnership with a landmark programming and production arrangement. The two companies will co-develop original, Canadian drama, comedy, and factual productions for their platforms and for distribution around the world. Several projects have already been selected for development from production companies Inverted Pictures/Artists Studio, Rhombus Media, and Force Four Entertainment. Additionally, new HBO Comedy specials featuring established and emerging Canadian comedians will also be considered.

Earlier this year, Bell Media announced its premium TV streaming service CraveTV would become available to all Canadians with an Internet subscription in January, 2016. In September, 2014, Bell Media announced it had exclusively acquired the national multi-platform rights for the entire off-air library of HBO’s iconic programming catalogue, which is now featured on CraveTV.