On February 6, 2018, I wrote that Mélanie Joly was opening a “cane” of verse with the revision of the broadcasting law.
Since then, the “cane” of worms has not ceased to grow. Almost five years later, Bill C-11 is still before the Senate and each new day of study raises new issues. These problems are happily “thrown” into the already full court of the CRTC as if this regulatory body were a phoenix capable of squaring the circle.
Level the playing field! Is it necessary to launch elephants and mice on the same playing field and according to the same rules? This is what we are trying to achieve with Bill C-11.
A stupid decision by Harper
The saga began with a stupid decision by Stephen Harper who declared in 2015 that there would never be a Netflix tax. Under the pretext that he had promised not to raise taxes, Justin Trudeau continued in the same vein. Mélanie Joly, then Minister of Heritage, was dispatched to California to probe the kidneys of the giants of the net. She came back almost empty-handed, but with the promise that Netflix would spend 500 million US over five years.
Netflix has more than quintupled this amount, but with films and series that have nothing Canadian except that they were produced here more cheaply than in the USA. Netflix also threw a few thousand dollars at schools and for popular causes like diversity, helping minority and indigenous communities. Netflix also produced Unto Decline, a low-budget feature film. Disney+ went there with an animated feature film produced entirely at home on the cheap, Turning Red, directed by Toronto's Domee Shi, featuring only Canadian performers.
< p>Why make it simple?
The bottom line, as the English say, is that Netflix, Disney+ and the others, which take millions of dollars out of our pockets every month, leave a significant percentage for the creation of authentic Canadian content. As Canadian broadcasting and distribution services have always been required to do.
Unfortunately, rather than exploring other avenues (as France has done, for example), Ottawa has chosen to integrate foreign services into the Canadian broadcasting system. The road could not be longer and more strewn with pitfalls, as the increasingly ridiculous whirlwind that agitates Parliament Hill clearly demonstrates.
If there is no dispute legal action or complaint under the CUSMA (the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement), the first installments of Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime and company for the creation of Canadian content could come in the course of 2024. During this time, we will have left hundreds of millions of dollars on the table.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128