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Around Red Deer June 16th – 18th…..

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3:01 pm – A Didsbury woman is facing drug charges after Innisfail RCMP conducted a traffic stop on June 15th. A search of the vehicle revealed several small zip-lock bags of a substance believed to be cocaine, methamphetamine and a scale. Mounties in total seized 32 g of cocaine and 16 g of methamphetamine.

12:59 pm – This year the Red Deer Catholic Regional Education Foundation has raised $50,000 to fund 16 schools and two Division projects. In addition to funding these projects, the Catholic Education Foundation will award $2,500 in scholarships to five students in the fall of 2017.

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12:52 pm – It’s a very busy weekend in the Town of Innisfail. The Rotary Parade, Innisfail Pro Rodeo, 9th Annual Softball Tournament, Legion Pancake Breakfast and Co-op Beef on a Bun. Read More.

12:48 pm – Due to the annual Innisfail Dolphins Swim Meet, a schedule change will be in effect at the Innisfail Aquatic Centre from 3 p.m. June 16 to 6 p.m. June 17. Read More.

12:40 pm – It’s Sylvan Lake Block Party Day tomorrow. A BBQ will be held outside the NexSource Centre starting at 11:30 am. Details Here.

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12:29 pm – The Town of Blackfalds is excited to announce that the Wadey Visitor Information Centre is officially open for business Saturday, June 17 at 10:00 a.m. Check out all the work that has gone into transforming this historical building! Mark your calendars for the Grand Opening on July 1 as part of Blackfalds’ #Canada150 celebration !

12:22 pm – Today marks the start of Blackfalds Days! Enjoy the many activities planned for the Town’s annual family & community party! Details Here.

12:16 pm – Penhold Town Council has approved a request from the Penhold & District Optimist Club to hold a Charity Check-Stop August 12th to raise funds to continue supporting youth programs within the Town and schools. Find out what else happened at Council this week.

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11:57 am – “Olivia” is Alberta’s top baby name from 2016. It’s been the top name for girls three years in a row now. “Liam” came in as the top boys name from 2016. Also for the third year in a row. Read More.

11:43 am –  Charges have now been sworn against the two men who robbed and attempted to rob two Red Deer gas stations in the early morning of June 14th. Read More.

11:35 am – The City of Lacombe’s Recreation and Culture Manager Sandi Stewart joined Chris Ross, Vice Chair of the Lacombe & District Recreation, Parks & Culture Board at the Gord Bamford House on June 14th to present a $2,000 Recreation and Culture Grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Lacombe & District Director Crystal Zens and her staff for their new Match Recreation Room and Activity Centre. Read More.

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9:36 am – The 70th Annual Highland Games are all set to go at Red Deer’s Westerner Park on Saturday! Read More.

9:33 am – The Investor’s Group Walk for Alzheimers and Red Deer Walk for ALS are among the many activities taking place throughout Red Deer this weekend. Find out what else is going on!

9:20 am – Enjoy Swing Dancing? Stop by Cool Beans downtown tonight at 7 pm! Read More.

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9:15 am – There’s Live Music at the Alexanderway Parklet today! Set the tone for your weekend! Details Here.

9:08 am – Red Deer RCMP have arrested 35 year old Quentin Lee Strawberry after locating him at an apartment in south Red Deer the afternoon of June 15th. Read More.

9:02 am – RCMP are investigating after a small ultralite airplane went down near Ponoka on Thursday. No injuries were sustained by the pilot and lone occupant on board. The matter is still under investigation and information will be released as it becomes available.

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8:53 am – RCMP have charged a male driver after a two-vehicle crash near Rimbey on Wednesday that sent one person to hospital via Stars Air Ambulance. Read More.

8:41 am – There was a heavy and armed Red Deer RCMP presence at an apartment building on the 5100 block of 37 Street Thursday afternoon as police worked with an unfolding incident. Read More.

8:32 am – Road construction and the Public Market on Saturday will mean some road closures and other traffic disruptions in Red Deer over the next few days. Read More.

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8:06 am – St. Elizabeth Seton School in Red Deer invites you to their Father’s Day Fun Run this upcoming Sunday, June 18th at Kin Kanyon to raise money for a new school playground. This 3 or 5 kilometre run/walk will start and end at Kin Kanyon (33 Street & 47 Avenue) at 10:00 a.m. rain or shine. For more details, click here. To register, click here.

7:57 am – There are Canada 150 Celebrations taking place at Hunting Hills High School in Red Deer today. Officials say students have filled out why they love Canada, decorated trees with maple leaves and laid out flags. There will be a BBQ and an all Canadian play-list to listen to.

7:46 am – It’s an Elementary Sports Day at École Mother Teresa School in Sylvan Lake today. The annual event is for students to participate in a variety of Track events and team-building activities on the field behind the school. Meanwhile, all are welcome to come out and cheer on Aquathon participants at St. Patrick’s Community School in Red Deer (which includes teachers as well as students). Participants will run 1 mile, swim 300m, and run another mile in this 7th Annual Aquathon competition.

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Media experts agree action is needed, but urge caution on how streaming is regulated

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OTTAWA — The Liberals have promised to quickly reintroduce legislation aimed at reforming the Broadcasting Act, which has media experts cautioning the government against bringing newer media platforms under an old regulatory framework.

“I think everyone agrees that it’s an older piece of legislation that doesn’t fully reflect the environment that we live in,” said Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor and the Canada Research Chair in internet and e-commerce law.

The Liberal government introduced a bill, known as C-10, in November 2020 that would bring global online streaming companies, such as Netflix and YouTube, under the Broadcasting Act. It came under intense criticism over whether it would regulate user-generated content. The bill died in the Senate when Parliament was dissolved for the September election.

While its risks to the free speech of Canadians got the most attention, if the promised new legislation resembles Bill C-10, then several of its features would have a significant effect on Canada’s cultural industries.

On-demand streaming services — for streaming music, television and movies — would be obligated to provide funding to Canadian content as well as actively promote it, including work by marginalized and under-represented groups, through what are called discoverability requirements.

This could include a requirement for a streaming service to highlight Canadian content through its recommendation tools, such as personalized music playlists or curated film selections.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) supervises traditional broadcasters and enforces federal policies. This new legislation would empower the CRTC to do the same for online media services but is vague when it comes to how the regulatory body would perform that function. Critics have called this an unrealistic overreach, questioning how the CRTC could monitor all content published on the internet.

Gerry Wall, president of consulting firm Wall Communications, produced a study on the economic effects of music streaming for the federal government in 2018, and has recently completed a second study which is forthcoming.

Wall and Geist both said that setting discoverability requirements on streaming services is not easily done for several reasons.

Geist said the notion of discoverability in Canada emerged at a time when traditional broadcasters would prioritize content from the United States over Canadian content because it was more profitable. Today, on-demand streaming services operate under a different business model and are incentivized to cater their catalogue to the subscriber’s preferences.

Using Netflix as an example, Geist said, “If people are interested in Canadian content … it’s clearly in Netflix’s interest to provide them with that Canadian content to keep them as subscribers.”

He added that Canadian content is not hard to find in that anyone can type “Canada” in the streaming platform’s search bar and will find a suite of Canadian materials.

Geist and Wall both said that bringing discoverability to streaming services triggers a thorny debate on how Canadian content is defined today. “That’s a fundamental problem, I think, that needs to be addressed,” said Wall.

The Broadcasting Act sets out criteria to define what makes a cultural work Canadian. For music, what’s known as the MAPL system determines whether a musical work is Canadian if it fulfils enough conditions, like whether a song is performed by a Canadian, or if the piece was recorded in Canada.

Geist referred to this as a “tick-box exercise” that may not be equipped to fully capture the complexity of a television production that involved mostly Canadians but fails to meet the criteria because a funder was not Canadian.

“I think any sort of honest assessment about what certified Canadian content means is that it’s just as likely to come up with a cop show where Toronto is designed to look like New York, as it is to come up with something that people would view as genuinely Canadian,” said Geist.

The way listeners access music through on-demand streaming is unlike the one-to-many distribution method of radio, where there was a single linear schedule of programming, said Wall. On a streaming service, the catalogue of music is accessed by users on-demand and simultaneously.

“You could break up the 24-hour day and say, ‘This much of your time has to be spent providing Canadian content on that.’ But how would that work in the streaming world?” he said.

Music streaming services can push music to a user through personalized and curated playlists, a process that is largely driven by a platform’s proprietary algorithms. Making Canadian artists more discoverable by granting the CRTC access to a streaming service’s algorithms is a “very poorly conceived notion,” said Wall.

Andrew Forsyth is a consultant to MRC Data, formerly Nielsen Canada, a marketing data and audience insights firm. He said the government must figure out how it can properly regulate this newer media environment — a difficult task.

Wall and Geist both agree that while the Broadcasting Act needs updating, the tension is in how that is accomplished.

Wall said he does not think it’s a good idea to try folding in new services and technologies into a framework designed for older means of communication that are fundamentally different.

That sentiment was echoed by Peter Menzies, senior fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and past CRTC vice-chair.

“The idea behind the broadcasting industry is the government is licensing people to use a Crown asset,” he said. “That’s something the Crown owns; it can set the rules for its use. The Crown doesn’t own the internet, but it’s pretending that it does.”

In the world of radio, the CRTC was able to compel stations to help subsidize Canadian content by collecting prescribed amounts and transferring it to funding and granting bodies like Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records (FACTOR) and the Canadian Music Fund.

“It all depended on a licensing system,” said Wall. “Well, are you going to license Spotify? How are you going to do that?”

If the goal is to ensure streaming companies contribute to these subsidies, Menzies said this can be done by other means “without pretending that the internet is broadcasting.”

Both Menzies and Forsyth said that creating a level playing field between on-demand streaming services and traditional broadcasters can be better achieved by imposing a tax on streaming services.

“You don’t have to regulate the internet. Carve out the companies that you want to get money from,” said Menzies.

Forsyth said the entire Canadian music industry exists because the Broadcasting Act allowed for it to flourish. “I think the problem is that the beast has been built,” he said, referring to the act and all the business generated by it. Revising the act will in turn affect the country’s system of funding, support and exposure for Canadian entities, he said.

“As a starting point, the user-generated content piece has to be out,” said Geist, because it fundamentally involves regulating the speech of Canadians.

He added that the legislation in its previous form was too vague and left too many details for the CRTC to decide.

Wall said he thinks the Heritage committee’s list of witnesses should be opened so that digital-first creators can have their voices included in the discussion. “I don’t think they ever had any input into this act, and they’re the future,” he said.

Menzies said, “The hope is that they breathe deeply, take a long look at things and figure out what is it you really want to get out of things and what’s the best way to get there? Because Bill C-10 sure wasn’t it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Erika Ibrahim, The Canadian Press

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Indigenous leaders denounce Quebec Premier Legault as ‘paternalistic,’ ‘arrogant’

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MONTREAL — Indigenous leaders in Quebec on Friday denounced Premier François Legault for his decision not to meet with them during a two-day economic summit in Montreal.

Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador, criticized Legault for speaking with reporters after the speech and for not meeting with Indigenous leadership.

“He did not have time to meet with the chiefs, but he did have time to speak to the media,” Picard said at the conference, called the Grand Economic Circle of Indigenous People and Quebec.

Picard said Legault was in “electoral mode,” adding that the premier’s refusal to meet in person with the chiefs “shows a certain level of arrogance.”

Indigenous leaders said Legault had only planned to deliver remarks to the gathering but then finally agreed to take three questions at the end of his speech from those in attendance.

Réal McKenzie, chief of the Innu Matimekush-Lac John of Schefferville, Que., asked Legault about royalties owed to Indigenous Peoples in exchange for the use of their lands. John Martin, chief of the Micmacs of Gesgapegiag, asked the premier about First Nations communities being excluded from accessing natural resources.

Neither chief said they were satisfied with the premier’s responses.

The two-day event, which concluded Friday, aimed to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous business people together.

During his speech, Legault announced a $10-million investment over five years for First Nations Executive Education, a program based at HEC Montréal business school.

Earlier Friday, Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafrenière announced a $3.3-million investment for a hotel project in Kahnawake, south of Montreal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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