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CNM Update

News | 04/10/2002 4:00 am EDT

CCOP advisory panel optimistic about role
The advisory panel named by Canadian Heritage to guide development of the Canadian Culture Online Program (CCOP) is thus far optimistic that it will play an important role in the initiative (CNM, April 8/02). While the department has come under harsh criticism in the past for moving slowly on such issues as changes to the Telefilm Canada multimedia fund, advisory board members say government officials have expressed a sincere desire to solicit industry input into future moves. After a first meeting March 15, the board is now forming sub-committees to deal with the various facets of the program, and will meet again in June.
Those on the board who spoke with Canadian NEW MEDIA have each expressed their excitement about the make-up of the panel, which comprises a broad spectrum of the new media industry. Member Leif Storm Kaldor of Saskatchewan-based Tyndal Stone Media told CNM: "It’s really a nice mix of viewpoints and they’re all bright bulbs." Chair Laurier LaPierre also expressed optimism that industry viewpoints would be well represented. "The board will represent those points of view which may not be present in the administration. We have representatives of that industry which is good and brings an entire new dimension. The needs of the industry are very important." Member Noni Maté of 7th Floor Media was particularly pleased that each of the board members was an effective advocate for the sector. "They have people who are really thinking about this, and aren’t afraid to say what they’re thinking. It was a really good, deep discussion."

While Canadian Heritage has said it will work to avoid mistakes of the past, there has been a recognition that the department is somewhat constrained by secret agreements with the Treasury Board defining how the CCOP will work (CNM, Feb. 7/02). Chair LaPierre, however, isn’t concerned that the board’s role will be irrelevant. Asked about the Treasure Board agreements, he said: "They have that problem, and that’s true of every board. However, I think we can advise. And, if our advice is not taken, then we can resign. It’s very simple. But I don’t think that will be necessary. We have established good contact, and I work quite well with the administrators. I know them all and I know the people on the board. I think that we will be able to create a good mix." More details.

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