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#733 - Nov 5- Nov 11, 2009

Vuepoint

Issues

Media Links ZeitGeist

Well, Well, Well

10 Dyer Straight

13 Inthe Box

13 Bob the Angry Flower

19 Veni, Vidi, Vino

38 Hopscotch

43 DVD Detective

50 Enter Sandor 58 New Sounds 59 Old Sounds 59 Quickspins

Oo ODwM

The cinéma vérité style of Broke. kicks off the Global Visions Film Festival with a spotlight on a local pawnshop.

60 Free Will Astrology 62 Queermonton 63 Alt.Sex.Column

EVENTS LISTINGS

40 Arts

45 Film |

48 Music : : {

61 Events : Vue hits the books with our fall ‘Chan pi ; 2 education supplement. : 7.)

: MUSIC // VUEFINDER : Live show slide shows of Metric, BrontoScorpio, Christian Hansen S : & the Autistics

=) : FILM // SIDEVUE : What the Dickens? Brian Gibson hum-bugs yet another remake of A Christmas : Carol in our weekly Sidevue

: FACEBOOK : We're listening, so Let's talk. Join the conversation on Facebook. : Join our Vue Weekly Facebook group.

: DISH // DISHWEEKLY.CA : Restaurant reviews, features, searchable and easy to use. dishhweekly.ca

vueweekly.com/tothedeath2010

WUEWEEKLY // NOV 5 NOV 1), 2009

More Volume = Less Money More Selection = Less Time More Staff = Better Service

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UP FRONT //3

NOV 5 NOV 11, 2009 // WUEWEEKLY

EDITORIAL

TFEWP flawed

SCOTT HARRIS Hf SCOTT @VUEWEEKLY.COM

ea immigrants rights groups and other civil society organiza- tions have for years been calling atten- tion to the myriad problems with the federal government's Temporary For- eign Worker Program (TFWP), pointing to the unjust nature of a program that views people from other countries as cheap and disposable workers rather than potential Canadian citizens, and to the widespread reports of abuse of those who come to Canada under its auspices. Now, with the tabling of her November 2009 report to Parliament, federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser is saying what many have said before: there are problems with the TFWP.

The report points out that Citizenship and Immigration Canada has made sig- nificant changes in recent years in how it approaches immigration, which has led to a shift in the types of workers that are allowed into the country, without any strategy to ensure that it is meeting the needs of the labour market (to say nothing of the workers themselves).

One of the most striking examples of this is the fact that the TFWP has de fac- to become the primary means by which foreign workers come to the country, surpassing the traditional route of im-

migration. The report points out that in 2008 Canada admitted around 250 000 people as permanent residents, but about 370 000 temporary foreign work- ers came to Canada, most of whom gain no toehold to becoming Canadian citi- zens in the process.

Despite this fact, Fraser in her state- ment on the report pointed out that “there is no systematic review to ensure that job offers are genuine and that em- ployers have complied with previous per- mit terms and conditions such as wages and accommodations. The problems we noted could leave temporary foreign workers in a vulnerable position and

pose significant risks to the integrity of :

the immigration program as a whole.” Unfortunately, Fraser's recommen- dations fall short of meaningfully ad- dressing the problems inherent in the TFWP, amounting to tweaking an un- just and racists program rather than taking steps to dismantle it and replace it with something that recognizes peo- ple as more than disposable cogs. Sim- ply put, if Canada needs the skills that foreign workers can offer, it should be willing to reciprocate by allowing them to enter Canada through the main- line immigration process and become Canadian citizens if they so choose. Anything else falls short of the values Canada professes to be built upon. WV

ee TMM UME MME MT TTT

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WUEWEEKLY // NOV 5 NOV 1), 2009

Letters

PRO-ENVIRONMENT, ANTI-IDIOT

just read your article on Greenpeace's

tactics ("Stepping it up a notch,” Oct 29 - Nov 4, 2009). Nobody ever talks about how Greenpeace is putting em- ployees who have families at risk by their actions. Nobody ever mentions how Greenpeace left their "business” behind a heavy hauler for site staff to clean up, which is so humane of them. Not a thing said about how they use the first aid stations after everything is said and done. It is never seen from the view of the staff that has to deal with the inconvenience of people in an en- vironment that can cause major dam- ages, including a person getting hurt or killed. It is never mentioned how dangerous a site can be, especially if

: you do not put safety first. For example: : when I see a photo of a person up that

high without even a harness on I think of one word: stupidity. I work out there daily and I don’t take those risks. Why

: would they? If you're going to up there,

be smart about it.

I am sure if you ask any person that had to deal with Greenpeace when they were here, they would most likely shake their heads and tell you some of the “activists” they had deal with were

: childish, rude and disgusting. Just be-

: cause I live and work up here does not : mean I am against the environment,

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Vue Weekly welcomes reader response, whether critical or complimentary. Send your opinion by mail (Vue Weekly, 10303 - 108 Street, Edmonton AB TJ 117), by fax (780.426.2889) or by email (letters@vueweekly.com). Preference is given to feedback about articles in Vue Weekly. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity.

but I am against idiots. Everyone has a right to fight for their cause, but when it interrupts my workday, I don't take it seriously.

By the way, did you know that Fort McMurray is one step closer to banning the commercial usage of plastic bags!

Born and raised,

Marina Smith Fort McMurray

A MODEST PROPOSAL

Ihe US experience shows that the

federal Conservatives’ proposals to increase penalties for white-collar crime and create a national securities commission will do little to decrease the crime rate or protect investors or consumers,

First, the stronger penalties will only apply to financial crimes (not pollution or making products that hurt people} and only if you steal more than $1 mil- lion (which allows for a lot of stealing with no greater penalty). Second, the US has a national commission but still has a high securities crime rate.

The best way to prevent corporate crime is to have investors and con- sumers who are educated to avoid scams and fraudsters, and empowered to hold them and government regula- tors to account for wrongdoing and weak enforcements.

The federal government can eas- ily, and at a very low-cost, empower investors and consumers by requiring the largest corporations in Canada to include a one-page pamphlet once or twice each year in the same envelopes they send bills, notices and statements to investors and consumers. The pam- phlet would describe and invite inves- tors and consumers to join a watchdog group that they fund and direct.

More than 20 million Canadians would receive the pamphlet (paid for by the watchdog group), and if only five percent joined at $40 per year, the group would have one million mem- bers and a $40 million annual budget (more than enough to provide educa- tion, complaint-assistance, legal servic- es and lobbying help to investors and consumers across Canada).

Given that-a bit of the price investors and consumers pay for big business products and services goes to pay the more than $500 million these business- es spend each year to advocate their in- terests (through advertising, political donations and lobbying), the least the federal government can do is require these businesses to facilitate the cre- ation of advocacy groups for investors and consumers.

To see details about this proposal, go to dwatch.ca/camp/RelsOct2109.html. Duff Conacher, Coordinator

-OMMENT >> HEA

H CARE CRISIS

Issues is a forum for individuals and organizations to comment on cu:

s n : irrent events and broad, issues of importance to the community. Their commentary is not necessarily the Spinenorte q organizations they represent or of Vue Weekly.

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PROVINCE // 2009 PC AGM AND CONVENTION

Stelmach faces test

Provincial Tories will vote on premier's

Wa vaccine chaos just the tip of the iceberg

RICARDO ACURA /PUALBERTA.CA/PARKLAND

We've known for some-time that the Al- berta government has a structural inabil- ity to plan for the long term—we've seen this with their failures on infrastructure, the environment, public services spend- ing and the economy as a whole. Now, it's become clear that they also lack the abil- ity to carefully assess what is happening in the province and plan in the short term as well

Anybody who has even remotely been paying attention could tell what was hap- pening. After six months of the World Health Organization, media’ outlets and governments talking endlessly about the HIN1 pandemic and its potential repercus- sions, no one should have been surprised by the sense of panic that had, developed in the population at large.

When public health experts from across North America hit the airwaves this fall to say repeatedly that everyone should get the vaccine when it comes out in order to protect themselves, it became clear that the public sense of panic would immedi- ately be manifest in the perceived urgency of the need to get the vaccine.

It is unbelievable, therefore, that the gov- ernment of Alberta could have been in any way surprised by the massive turn-out of people seeking to get the vaccine in the first five days it was offered. Yet that is exactly what they claim—that they were taken by surprise by the "unexpected stam- pede" of "panicked" Albertans. That they assumed that, after all the hype about the flu and the vaccine, people would volun- tarily step aside and let those in high-risk groups get the shot first shows just how out of touch the government is with the population at large.

Perhaps it's not fair to suggest that the government had no plan for dealing with the vaccinations. Alberta, like virtually év- ery other jurisdiction in the world, has a plan in place for dealing with pandemics. That plan clearly states that in the case of a pandemic priority in vaccination will

be given to those most at risk. But Health Minister Ron Liepert decided to ignore that plan and make the vaccine available to everyone at once. And he appears to have done so for ideological reasons, telling re- porters that he didn't "want to be like the old Soviet Union where you're interrogat- ing people" to determine if they are high- risk or not.

After six days of thousands of people in the high-risk categories being turned away from overwhelmed clinics around the province, the government finally decided to shut down all the clinics while they de- veloped a plan for ensuring that those at risk actually receive priority for the shot. In other words, after six days of mayhem they have decided to actually follow Al- berta's pandemic plan.

The problem now, however, is that as a result of the six days of mayhem, the

* province's supplies of the vaccine are

running low, and the manufacturer of the vaccine is seriously behind in their production schedule.

Ron Liepert is now taking credit for the fact that in the first six days some 300 000 people were vaccinated, and is suggesting that that figure shows the de- gree to which their “plan” was successful What he does not say, however, is that the 300 O00 figure is more a testament to the dedication of the front-line health workers who managed to continue de- livering vaccines despite the chaos and mayhem that resulted at the clinics. Once again, it Is clear that when it comes to health care, this government is flailing and making stuff up on the fly, and were it not for the dedication of health workers we would be in much worse shape than we already are.

One of the reasons that more clinics could not initially be opened up, particu- larly in the larger centres, is that there is simply not enough front-line health-care staff to do so. Which is an aspect of this discussion that has not received much air- play in the media—the fact that the onset of this pandemic is happening while our health care system in general Is in crisis.

Even before the arrival of the flu we were in a situation In which we did not have enough nurses, doctors or hospital beds and where our emergency rooms were overcrowded and overwhelmed. At the same time, the provincial govern- ment has been on a mission over the last six months to further cut costs in health care, meaning even fewer beds and staff. In other words, our health care system was already strained and bursting at the seams and getting worse.

Now we are heading into a pandemic which will, by definition, mean increased numbers of hospitalizations, emergency room visits and extended stays. It will also mean, especially given the failure to prioritize vaccine distribution to front-line health staff, large numbers of hospital staff getting the flu and missing work. None of this, however, seems capable of reversing Ron Liepert and Stephen Duck- ett's determination to proceed with taking at least another $1 billion out of the health care system.

The chaos at the vaccination clinics was really just the tip of the iceberg. As HIN1 works its way through our population over the course of the next six months, the im- pacts of this government's neglect and de- struction of the public health care system will become more and more evident—lives will be lost as a result. Albertans need to speak up now and demand that the gov- ernment reinvest in public health care im- mediately to ensure that the system can adequately meet both current demand and the expected increase in demand resulting from HIN1. Albertans also need to demand that the government develop a concerted plan for health care that prioritizes the health and well-being of Albertans over the long term, rather than just the bottom line. If we don't demand that now, will the system be there three months from now when we really need it? W

Ricardo Acufia is executive director of the Parkland Institute, a non-partisan public policy research institute housed at the University of Alberto.

leadership as his popularity plummets

SAMANTHA POWER // SAMANTHA@VUEWEEKLY.COM

fe set etaeremmom ree rare

t this weekend's Progressive Con-

servative AGM and Convention Premier Ed Stelmach will stand in front of the party members that chose him as leader three years ago and receive a grade for his performance since tak- ing the reins of Alberta's longest-ruling party. Facing widespread criticism over the province's multibillion-dollar defi- cit, cuts to public services and the roll- out of the HiNi vaccination program, the confidence vote comes at a critical time for Ed Stelmach, whose personal popularity has been sliding for months, as has the PC brand in Alberta.

"There has been a lot of concern about a number of the directions the gov- ernment is heading,” comments Mark Lisae, publisher of Insight Into Govern- ment, an independent weekly focused on Alberta politics and government.

Lisae says that proposed legislation regarding electricity transmission lines is the latest move which has meant an upswing in activism in rural areas of the province—the party's base—and grow- ing uncertainty in Stelmach’s leadership.

"Approval ratings are well down from a year or two ago,” Lisac says. "An im- portant poll in June showed for the first time his approval ratings dipped in ru- ral areas, which should be an area of strong support.”

Former premier Ralph Klein—who himself was forced to move up his re- tirement plans following more-tepid- than-expected support in the 2006 leadership review—has stated anything less than 70 percent support would put pressure on Stelmach to step down as leader of the party.

Such a move, says Lisac, would have

widespread impacts for the party and the province.

"If he were to lose, in effect, it would throw the party into turmoil for several months—the constant campaigning where no one would know who would bein charge.”

Lisac believes that's why we'll see few comments of dissent on Stelmach's leadership and fairly high marks from

party delegates.

"We may at this point have seen all the comment we can expect,” he suggests. "Former MLAs who are looking at sup- porting the Wildrose Alliance Party have made their statements and there's been a trend for high-profile people to state dissent is not good idea for leader- ship right now.”

But if dissent is unlikely to be found within the convention halls in Red Deer, it will certainly be found out- side the doors. Several groups, in- cluding the Alberta Union of Public Employees, Friends of Medicare and Public Interest Alberta, have banded together to send a message about the direction of the province to the party delegates and its leadership.

David Eggen, the executive director of Friends of Medicare, says the demon-

stration is intended to highlight to the

NOV 5 NOV 11, 2009 // WUWEWEEKLY

whole PC membership the recent, and looming, budget cuts to public services.

"We're targeting the convention be- cause it’s not just hardened politicians, it's delegates from around the province who are attending and we're hoping to influence,” Eggen explains.

Given the range of controversies smol- dering in the province, Eggen expects that participation in the November 7 "Stop the Cuts” rally will be diverse, with Albertans concerned about pro- posed nuclear plants, those concerned with electricity transmission lines, stu- dents and seniors all participating

"People at Red Deer College and teach- ers in the public and catholic schools as well as health care workers started to see that we all have a lot in common

We may at this point have seen all the comment we can expect. Former MLAs who are looking at supporting the Wildrose Alliance Party have made their statements and there's been a trend for high-profile people to state dissent is not good idea for leadership right now.

looming over us,” Eggen says, adding that he thinks the location will bolster numbers. "Red Deeris also the centre of the province so it's strategic for Calgary and Edmonton to attend. We're also ex- pecting people from towns around Red Deer that wouldn't normally come up to Edmonton or Calgary.”

Eggen is hoping the convention will see strong debate on the government's focus on cuts to deal with the deficit.

"You can't take education and public health care for granted because there are people out there to actively destroy those public services,” he says.

Such widespread dissatisfaction with the current direction of the govern- ment is why, regardless of the results of the leadership vote, Lisac believes Stelmach will be facing an uphill battle in proving himself to Albertans outside the PC membership ranks.

"Because of the state of everything else in the province and the public polls on his performance, even if he were to get 90 percent I think he's still on pro- bation fora year." V

The Stop the Cuts rally will convene at the Kinsmen Community Hall in Red Deer (4726 - 34 St) at 11:30 am before proceeding to the site of the PC conven- tion at noon. Free bus transportation from both Edmonton and Calgary to the event is being provided. Call 780.420.0471 or 780.423.4581 or visit friendsofmedicare.ca formore information.

UP FRONT //5

COMMENT >> MEDIA

Indie media's moment?

Corporate media crisis an opportunity for new models

Despite the fact that CanWest filed : on October 6, 2009 for court protec- : tion against creditors, several already : well-paid directors, executives and other senior members of CanWest : management will share $9.8 million in : Key Employee Retention Plan (KERP) : bonuses. In an article for rabble.ca, : Gary Engler contrasts this ex- travagance with the fact that media workers are losing severance pay, pensions and jobs, shareholders are tak- ing huge losses and suppli- stevg e And ers are receiving "a few cents eye on the dollar at best."

It is frustrating to know that : those people who mismanaged the : CanWest media empire are not bearing : the brunt as much as media workers, : shareholders and suppliers. However, : there is now an opportunity for less : wasteful media outlets to chip away at : CanWest's market share. Rather than : let other domestic or foreign media : conglomerates step in, we should help : independent media use this waste of : resources as an opportunity to be- : come the cornerstone of our media : ecology rather than just an alternative : to big media. :

Independent media is often referred to, = but rarely defined. It is structurally in- : dependent from the two most powerful :

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Pick any Kgodo mobile phon Put $150 of the reta; retail pri on your Koodo Tab Price Pay off your Tabby Ga your Tab by us yourphone "9 KOO O koodomobile.com mobile" Good call 1 Edmonton Red Deer Edmonton City Centre Bower Place Walmart >'<¢ Bees Keodo na Millwoods Town Centre West Edmonton Mall

1) Subject to approved credit

WUEWEEKLY // NOV 5 NOV 11, 2009

ons in our society: government : ernment and NGOs. Renowned commu-

corporations, This autonomy allows : nications academic James Curran and

independent media more freedom than : others who have put forth the creation

big media to be openly critical of power, :

and it makes outlets more reliant and ; national public trusts, primarily funded

: through the state. Alternatively, we

independent media typically relies : could set up a decentralized network

on support from some combination :

of donations/members, foundations, : lar geographical regions. For example,

+ Vancouver-based NGOs, universities,

and volunteers. Most independent : churches, labour groups, foundations,

media outlets also have an overt so- : citizens and possibly local government,

cial mission that creates an orienta- : could pool their resources and create

tion and ethos of public service rather : a Vancouver CMT, which could provide

than the narrow commercial interest : long-term funding for public-service in- t dependent media in Vancouver. independent media organizations are, : however, marginalized and in need of : democratically accountable indepen- a reliable financing mechanism that : can maintain their ability to act auton- :

omously. We know that our current i

accountable to everyday people.

NGOs/unions, commercial advertising

found in many media corporations.

media system creates an obstruction for an open public sphere, but the ob- struction is not just the dominant cor- porate media system and its matrix of filters, it's also our inability to create 3 mechanism to fund a public-service independent media system.

Fixing our media system is not sim-

existing projects; we must develop a

sustainable independent media infra- :

structure, while also providing stable and reliable funding to individual pr ects. We can't continue to rely on indi-

vidual independent media outlets that : ing, expanding and multiplying inde- are scrambling for funds for the next :

story. To compete with big media, in-"

dependent media needs to become the incubator of journalism experiments.

is a preoccupation.

The economic downturn has been : hard on both independent and corpo- : rate media, and yet there seems to be

enough money to give particular man- agement personnel extravagant an-

doing, independent media should be prioritized by policy makers, citizens and civil society.

A partial solution to funding inde- pendent media could be “community

organizations, citizens, foundations, in stitutions (churches, universities), gov-

of public trusts have conceived of single

of CMTs to provide service to particu-

Could this be the way forward for a

dent media sector?

In the coming weeks, several cities will host public forums marking the 10th consecutive year of Media Democracy Day (MDD). The conversation in MDD's nteractive workshops and panels can help provide a path to a reinvigorated ndependent media sector in Canada.

According to SFU Professor Robert Hackett, the initial drive of MDD was

: to "build a greater sense of community ply an issue of better networking of :

for those fighting for media democra- cy.” In the past, these events have led to key collaborations between allied media projects. This year we hope to see more collaboration and more prag- matic discussions focused on elevat-

pendent media in this country. There is a window of opportunity right now,

: but that window can and will close if : we don't take this challenge seriously. While some are trying, it is very much : an uphill battle when daily sustenance :

Considering the current crisis in big media, now is the time to take inde-

> pendent media to the next level.

More information regarding MDD activities can be found at mediademocracyday.org. W

Marie Elliott is a fourth year commu- nications student at Simon Fraser Uni-

= versity. She aspires to be a new media/ nual bonuses. It is quite obvious that : Canada's media-funding model needs : to be reevaluated and remixed. In so : Steve Anderson is the national coordi- nator for the Campaign for Democratic t Media. He is a contributing author of : Censored 2008 and Battleground: The : Media. Media Links is a monthly syndi- media trusts" (CMT) financed by labour :

music journalist and currently runs the music blog remixourlives.blogspot.com.

cated column on media issues supported by CommonGround, The Tyee, Rabble.ca,

> Vancovuer Observer and Vue Weekly.

Parkland Institute’s 13th Annual Fall Conference

November 20-21, 2009 Maier Learning Centre, ETLC, University of Alberta Campus in Edmonton

tumble in

Govertenent ts tr wash mal x

Last year, Alberta was in a boom and then the world economy collapsed.

* What happened? : What do we do now? 4 pportunity:

Spoakers inctude:

Marjorie Cohen

Derrick Jensen (by video-conference Joel Magnuson

Mark Anielski

Dorval Brunelle

Peter Brown (by video-conterence) Robin Broad

Nathan Rao

Sam Gindin

Katherine Gioson

PARKLAND

email land@ualbena.ca

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NOV 5— NOV 1), 2009 // WUEWEEKLY

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IT’S TIME FOR A PROGRESSIVE ECONOMY

Keynote: Closing speaker:

Jim Stanford Judy Rebick

author of Transforming Power author of Economics for From the Personal to the Political Everyone, A Short Guide to

the Econornics of Capitalism

This year's conference brings together academics. activists and journalists who have been thinking and writing about what went wrong and what kind of economy wold be good for our society, our environment, and our world Each comes from a very different progressive perspective. Our world can't afford to keep going in the direction it has been and these speakers are talking about the world we Want.

For more information or to register on-line visit www.parklandinstitute.ca

This conference was made possible through the generous support of the following co-sponsors: Alberta Federation of Labour Albers Public interest Research Group: Athabasca University; CUPE Alberta: Woodsworth-inine Sociatist Fellowship Endowment University at Alberta Faculty of Arts, CISR Radio; Wue Weekly, Alberta Views.

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“a e The a la carte option

Consumer choice holds the key

to solving fee-for-carriage fight

For the past two months, Canadians have : been subjected to a non-stop marketing : campaign pitting two deep-pocketed : industries—broadcasters and broadcast :

distributors—against each other.

Television and radio commercials,

full-page newspaper advertise-

ments, websites and Twitter

posts all seek to convince

the public that new fees for

local television signals are,

depending on your perspec-

tive, either a TV tax or crucial

funding to save local television. Broadcasters claim some local TV st

distributing their signal Cable and satel

rather from the pockets of consumers.

While the reaction for many Canadians i might be sensibly to tune out the entire : mess (Monday was the deadline for com- : ments), politicians and regulators will : still be left seeking a solution. In fact, : some politicians have pledged to sup- i port local television, but also promised : to avoid new consumer costs. Can these : : ular US content will become less effec- ? tive as consumers anxious to view those

two positions be reconciled? Perhaps.

The answer may lie in giving consumers 6 more choice, by allowing them to pay only : for the channels they want, regardless of : : would undoubtedly represent a dramatic : shift in Canadian broadcast policy that

whether they are local, foreign, or special- ty (such as CNN or movie networks). A full "a la carte" model would require

three steps. First, exclude public broad- : casters from the issue altogether. The CBC : argues it is also entitled to fee-for-carriage : compensation, yet that runs counter to : the very notion of a public broadcaster. ? : sion. universe scarcely imagined when the

The public has already paid for the broad-

casts and should not be asked to pay : again. Public broadcasters should instead : : Michael Geist holds the Canada Research

form a new basic tier for cable and satel-

lite providers that would be considerably ; : the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. : He can be reached at mgeist@uottawa.ca

cheaper since it would only include chan- nels for which no fees are attached.

Second, make all remaining channels— :

local, foreign and specialty—optional for consumers. Groups of channels can still be packaged to offer better value (sports, movie, local channel or US channel pack- ages, for example), but the crucial dif- ference from the current system

would be that Canadian consum-

ers would get to decide what

channels they want to pay for.

Third, institute a fee-for-

Carriage system so private broadcasters are compensated

for their local signals where consumers choose to subscribe. If

: Canadians are really concerned with their tions will close if they do not receive ; millions in additional fees from cable and : satellite companies as compensation for : : however, they lose both compensation lite companies leave little doubt they will : pass along any new fees—possibly as : much as $10 per month per subscriber— ; to their customers. The additional fees : inevitably will not come from the bottom : lines of cable and satellite companies, but : : Consumers gain much-needed control

local television, they will subscribe and the broadcasters will be the beneficiaries. If the Canadian broadcasters are wrong,

and mandatory carriage.

Such a system should meet everyone's needs, Politicians succeed in getting lo- cal television stations fees for their signal without forcing consumers who don't want the channels to pay for them.

over their cable bills so that they are not forced to pay new fees for signals they don't want. Broadcasters get their Long sought-after fee-for-carriage modeL Moreover, this approach fosters incen- tives for broadcasters to invest in local news and original programming because strategies based on simply licensing pop-

programs subscribe to the US channels rather than the Canadian simulcast. Adopting a genuine choice model

has long featured must-carry obligations for Canadian broadcasters. Yet it is the broadcasters themselves that argue for a new paradigm. A system that matches fee-for-carriage with consumer choice may best reflect the needs of a televi-

Broadcasting Act was first drafted. W

Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at

or online at michaelgeist.ca.

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"CITY // NEW CITY MANAGER New top bureaucrat Questions about the shot

//DAVID@VUEWEEKLY.COM

ith a fresh strategic vision and a related series of master plans, the City of Edmonton now has a new top bureaucrat to help implement them. After previously occupying the post in

Leduc, Spruce Grove and most recently Waterloo, Simon Farbrother has been selected to replace retiring City Manag- er Al Maurer, who has held the position for the last decade.

Though the city manager only rarely steps into the public spotlight, he is the key non-elected official within City Hall, the major link between council and the bureaucracy and, as University of Alberta political science professor Jim Lightbody explains, someone who has to ensure that both branches keep an eye on the broader picture, something particularly im- portant with the city's new, forward- thinking strategic vision.

"He's the one person who should be able to override what they call the silo effect in city government: where managers only look after their own department,” said Lightbody. "Then he also has to sit in council all day and try to keep them focused on the broader issues, not just worried about people complaining about parking tickets. Councillors, especially with us moving to the single-ward system, in- creasingly see issues through the lens of their ward, or their specific policy interests: he's there to remind them that they're working in a broader or- ganization."

Though Farbrother has spent the last five years in Ontario, he brings a very unique combination of familiar- ity with local politics and experience on an international stage. Born in England but graduating with his Mas- ters in Geography from the University of Alberta, he worked his way up the chain in Leduc before becoming city manager in Spruce Grove and Chief Administrative Officer in Waterloo. Throughout, he has served on numer-

ous national and international mu- nicipal boards, including serving as president of the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators and vice- president of the International City/ County Management Association.

Among his most impressive accom- plishments, though, was presiding over Waterloo's being named the most intelligent community in the world in 2007 by the Intelligent Community Fo- Tum, an organization that focuses on broadband economies and community unity. Though Farbrother downplays the award, he does think that the les- sons he learned during that process will help him accomplish the goals Ed- monton has laid out for its future.

"Awards are awards, but the main piece there was developing a collabora- tive approach to looking at the city. It involved our business community, it in- volved the president of the University of Waterloo, our mayor was a cham- pion, and they all brought credibility to the initiative,” he explained. "I think whatit was really around was recogniz- ing that to bessuccessful, it’s really im- portant to think from the outside in, to listen to ideas, listen to people: if you've got an idea, don't just assume it's the right one, go chat with people, bounce it off and move forward in a clear-head- ed fashion.”

Farbrother said that kind of collabo- ration would be key towards actually implementing the strategic vision put forth, which, while solid, will still need significant public support to be imple- mented for full value.

"I think the plans are good plans.