Radio-Canada to begin broadcasting in June
Radio-Canada, CBC Radio One’s French counterpart, will begin broadcasting in Jasper on 101.1 FM starting in June.
CBC first announced its plans last summer, which includes adding new antennas to existing transmission towers already located within Jasper and Banff National Parks.
Listeners will also be able to listen to French programming in Banff on 105.7 FM and Lake Louise on 102.7 FM.
CBC will begin testing the radio stations as of May 15. A message will be broadcast during regular programming to notify the public. If the test period is successful, the radio will be in full service by June.
“Today’s news is a victory for all French speaking people in Alberta and an accomplishment for francophone communities in the Rockies,” wrote Marie-France Miron, a former board member for the Jasper chapter of the Association Canadienne-Française de l’Alberta (ACFA).
“We are finally seeing the results of our efforts to have access to an essential service thanks to the persistence of dedicated ACFA members here in Jasper, the ACFA head office in Edmonton and members of the French community.”
The push to get French radio in Jasper started nearly two decades ago, but only gained traction in 2007, after ACFA collected 300 names on a petition demanding access to the station.
Despite the association’s best efforts, the petition fell on deaf ears.
At the time the association was told by CBC that setting up transmitters in Jasper was not one of the corporation’s priorities and would likely not become a priority in the future.
Looking for more help, the ACFA contacted the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages in 2009. The office told the association it had good grounds to file legal complaints against Radio-Canada for violating articles 24 and 41 of Canada’s Official Languages Act.
Jasper’s ACFA also started working with the ACFA in Edmonton to help push the issue further.
However, somewhere between switching staff, moving offices and working on numerous other projects, Jasper’s ACFA lost its steam.
Pierre Guérin, Radio-Canada’s regional manager for Western Canada, told the Fitzhugh last June that he attributed the lack of French programming in the region to $115-million in cuts in 2012 under the former Conservative government.
In 2016 the Liberal government committed $225-million over two years to CBC/Radio-Canada to help reverse the cuts.