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Privatization threatens TVO.

Windspeaker Staff Writer


The Ontario government's drive to cut expenses through the sell-off of government assets threatens to leave remote, northern, mostly Aboriginal communities at the mercy of private business owners when it comes to television and radio service.

In remote communities in northern Ontario Northern Ontario is the part of the province of Ontario which lies north of Lake Huron (including Georgian Bay), the French River and Lake Nipissing.

Northern Ontario has a land area of 802,000 km² (310,000 mi²) and constitutes 87% of the land area of Ontario, although it
, TVOntario, the government-owned educational broadcaster, carries distance education programming that allows more than 20 people to get their high school diplomas A high school diploma is a diploma awarded for the completion of high school. In the United States and Canada, it is considered the minimum education required for government jobs and higher education. An equivalent is the GED.  each year. Without this service, those people would be forced to leave their home communities at great expense to attend a secondary school.

Privatization privatization: see nationalization.

Transfer of government services or assets to the private sector. State-owned assets may be sold to private owners, or statutory restrictions on competition between privately and publicly owned
 and re-organization have been a major part of the Ontario government's pro-business approach. Several hospitals throughout the province have been targeted for closure since Premier Mike Harris' Progressive Conservatives were elected on June 8, 1995. There has been talk of privatizing the provincially-owned Ontario Hydro Ontario Hydro was the official name from 1974 of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario which was established in 1906 by the provincial Power Commission Act to build transmission lines to supply municipal utilities with electricity generated by private companies  along with assets acquired with billions of dollars of public money. The government has also talked of selling off its public controlled Liquor Control Board despite sizable siz·a·ble also size·a·ble  
Of considerable size; fairly large.

siza·ble·ness n.
 profits, prompting critics to suggest that government is going too far in its efforts to reach out to the business community.

That's what more than 60 people were saying on Nov. 26 when they gathered in Sioux Lookout, Ont. to protest a hearing conducted by the Privatization Secretariat Secretariat, 1970–89, thoroughbred race horse. Trained by Lucien Laurin and ridden by Ron Turcotte, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes to capture the Triple Crown in 1973.

(foaled 1970) U.S.
. The committee had scheduled the meeting in the northern town to hear from a dozen local groups. The hearings are part of the public consultation process that is scheduled to end in January.

The Wawatay Native Communications Society Wawatay Native Communications Society (Wawatay for short) was formed in 1974 by the people of Northern Ontario's Nishnawbe Aski Nation, as a source of communications technology, namely radio, television, and print media services for the Oji-cree communities.  and Wahsa Distance Education, operated by the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council, both rely on spare audio channels on TVO's network to reach remote communities. Wawatay Radio has counted on TVO TVO

tractor vaporizing oil.
 as an economical way to broadcast Native-language programming programming since 1984. Fifty-two hours of regional news and cultural programming is aired each week. Wahsa has relied exclusively on TVO to send its distance education programming to 23 First Nation communities since 1991.

Officials with both organizations believe private business will not operate the services at a loss which will probably mean the end of the services if privatization occurs.

The 60 people met for a rally outside the hotel where the consultation sessions were to be held to protest what appeared to be restrictions placed on public participation in the process. Sioux Lookout is not regarded as an Aboriginal community, despite the fact that it has a sizable Aboriginal population. But it is considered a `jumping off point' for the many remote Aboriginal communities in the far northern portion of the province. The demonstrators believed that public input was limited in Sioux Lookout when it was not limited in Thunder Bay Thunder Bay, city (1991 pop. 113,946), SW Ont., Canada, on Thunder Bay inlet of Lake Superior. The city was created in 1970 by the amalgamation of the twin cities of Fort William and Port Arthur and two adjoining townships. , a community just 200 km to the south-east, and felt the limits may have been aimed at excluding Aboriginal interests.

"The panel is holding a series of public forums across the province, but for some reason that has never been explained to Wawatay or NNEC NNEC NATO Network Enabled Capability
NNEC National Nano Engineering Conference
NNEC North Nova Education Center
, they have decided to limit the input from the public during their time here in Sioux Lookout," said Kenina Kakekayash, executive director of Wawatay.

Deborah Reid, an aide to Rob Sampson This article or section contains statements that may date quickly and become unclear.
Please [improve the article] or discuss this issue on the talk page. This article has been tagged since August 2007.
, minister without portfolio with responsibility for privatization, said the limits were placed on participation because the Sioux Lookout meeting was different from the Thunder Bay meeting.

"Thunder Bay was a public meeting while the meeting in Sioux Lookout was a special Aboriginal meeting," she said.

Norma Kejick, the principal of Wahsa Distance Education, attended the meeting and was allowed to make her point. She is convinced the panel now understands the importance of the northern services.

"I believe the committee members now understand. Maybe now the government will include some kind of clause that the new owners have to provide the same service or better after they take over," Kejick said. "My personal feeling is they're going to go ahead and do it."
COPYRIGHT 1998 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Barnsley, Paul
Publication:Wind Speaker
Date:Jan 1, 1998
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