I am writing to congratulate all of the TVOntario supporters in Northwestern Ontario who spoke out against the privatization of TVO and were heard.
In October and November last year, the volunteer TVO regional councillors undertook the challenge of letter writing and awareness campaigns to inform the stakeholders of TVOntario of the threat of full or partial privatization of our public broadcaster.
The support was amazing. In the northwest alone, more than 100 people attended the public forum in Thunder Bay, causing this meeting to be the best attended per capita.
On behalf of “local” viewers, I was able to make a 54-page submission to the panel. This report included letters from local MP Robert Nault, 14 letters from mayors and reeves, three from school boards, and many personal letters and petition pages.
The impact was not slight. In Sheldon Levy’s 31-page report to the Privatization Secretariat, the submission from our local area of the northwest was quoted at least nine times out of the more than 1,000 pages received by his panel.
TVO supporters, you were heard loud and clear. So what happens now!
On Friday, June 26 at 2 p.m. (EDT), Rob Sampson, minister without portfolio in charge of privatization, announced the government will go forward with the “retain and improve” option.
Educators and lifelong learners spoke out clearly that TVOntario’s educational mandate is important, and to this end, TVOntario will return to its original moniker, “The Ontario Educational Communications Authority,” with a change in reporting to the Ministry of Education.
For TVOntario’s English and French broadcast services, this is a reflection of its commitment to quality educational programming for all Ontario. On the non-broadcast side, TVOntario is, with its partnerships in the private sector, to become a leader in technology and delivery services.
In summation, this announcement is a vote of confidence for TVOntario, its board of directors and CEO, and you, all the lifelong leaders in Northwestern Ontario.
We have proved that TVO matters, and I thank you!
M. Susan L. Flemming
Northwest regional councillor