Bill C-10 faces the reverse and will embarrass Canada on the world stage – –

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Bill C-10 faces the reverse and will embarrass Canada on the world stage – –


The Peace Tower on Parliament Hill is framed by an iron fence on Wellington Street in Ottawa on March 12, 2020.

Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press

With the Parliament ending June 23, Bill C-10 is on time.

The bill was introduced on November 3, purportedly to modernize Canada’s 1991 Broadcasting Act and address the challenges and opportunities presented by the global online age. Many (myself included) felt that C-10 lacked clever analysis and bold vision. Then things got worse. A clause that exempted user-generated content from regulation has been removed, sparking debate among top experts on the impact of the C-10 on the rights of Canadians to free speech and an open Internet. Last week, the bill was further politicized and made even more controversial when the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois limited debate in committee and then, with the NDP, introduced amendments without making them public, in an attempt to rush the bill. law in the House of Commons, to pass it and send it to the Senate.

C-10 shouldn’t be political. There are more risks in this law than many realize.

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The world is in the early stages of the unstoppable Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is digitizing everything, disrupting every business, and won’t stop until it changes what it means to be human. What’s embarrassing about C-10 is that the media disruption sparked the revolution, but that’s the least complex changes now evident in manufacturing, medicine, mobility, money and more.

Unfortunately, Canada cannot even cope with the transformation of the media. In a study of 138 countries, the World Economic Forum (WEF) found that Canada’s main problem is its lack of capacity to innovate – almost equal to our number two: a crippling bureaucracy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on his first visit to the WEF forum in Davos, promised that Canada would be known, not for its resources, but for its “ingenuity.” Where is this forward-looking vision now?

My research on legacy and new media shows that the borderless online era has opened up new opportunities for Canadian consumers and creators. This global ecosystem solves five decades complaining about Canada’s undersized media market and clearly shows that the border with the United States has always been an advantage, never a threat.

Amid the unemployment of the pandemic era, our legacy content creators – 1% of our national workforce – are fully employed. Netflix spent $ 2.5 billion on Canadian productions since 2017, saying they are long term because “the density of talent in Canada is remarkable”. Anne with an E, Until Decline, Kim’s convenience and The Schitt ruisseau are just a few shows that appear when you click “Canadian Movies & TV” on Netflix.ca.

On YouTube, Canadian creators have taken to the world stage, without the need for quotas or subsidies. According to a study I led at the Audience Lab, a research group in the Faculty of Communication and Design at Ryerson University, 16.5 percent of Canadian designers came from Quebec, 18% were people of color and 9% had a physical disability. Approximately 160,000 Canadian creators of various ethnicities, genres and abilities lead YouTube genres and generate millions if not billions of views.

With 90 percent of views coming from outside the country, Canadian creators are number one exports to YouTube, underscoring the dependence of these creators on the monetization of Canadian content around the world. We have found that a majority of Canadian creators reject government interference in “discoverability” because they fear that forced prioritization in Canada will trigger de-prioritization elsewhere, thus undermining the earning power they have built without. government aid, using a timeless media model: competition for popularity.

Our study found that 84 percent of Canadian users do not want government to play a role in what they watch on YouTube. We have had many responses like this: “We live in a global world. “

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All this exuberance of the Canadian media would seem to be arguing for simplification of regulations, but the opposite is happening. C-10 is turned backwards, towards Canada’s regulatory bureaucracy, which I call “mediacracy”.

The 2020 Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review (BTLR) report, among 97 recommendations, suggested extending the jurisdiction of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to the entire Internet, one way awkward to justify collecting revenues from global streamers to subsidize Canadian content.

C-10 adopted this recommendation. An absurd expansion of our media bureaucracy would be needed to allow the CRTC to monitor over 100 million active global websites (out of over a billion in total). On the global YouTube platform alone, over 500 hours video are downloaded every minute. How will the CRTC follow up?

In the case of television, a languid medium compared to the Internet, five decades of CRTC regulation have failed to convince Canadians to watch English-language Canadian content, which consumes the majority of public funds for Canadian television. Now with C-10, the CRTC’s reward is proficiency in the World Wide Web?

Few will remember that Canada did not collect revenue from 20th century global giants like ABC, CBS and NBC. In 1970, Canada collaborated with American broadcasting to strengthen our media system. Careful analysis has led to a brilliant policy innovation: simultaneous substitution, the practice of placing Canadian ads on US shows, in real time. These unique regulations kicked off our television advertising and made our cable and broadcasting industries so profitable that they have since subsidized Canadian content.

Linear broadcasting and cable are in a phase of decline, but luck has arisen. The online era has offered the opportunity to make Canadian television an economic engine, as envisioned in Trudeau’s first media policy framework, led by former Liberal Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly. What we need now is a policy to incentivize the global reach and popularity of the content.

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Unlike C-10’s approach to the Internet, the opposite answer is worth noting. The goal of the 1996 US Telecommunications Act was deregulation to stimulate innovation and competition. In 1997, Netflix was invented. Why not by a Canadian?

“If you don’t know where you are going, any means will get you there. This is the warning from the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, and it looks perfect at the moment. Everyone feels a historic change. In response to the biggest communications disruption in 600 years, is the C-10 the best we can do? Going back with the same old policies will embarrass Canada on the world stage and certainly will not advance a global reputation for ingenuity.

Irene S. Berkowitz, PhD, is a policy researcher at the Audience Lab, a research group in the Faculty of Communication and Design at Ryerson University, and lead author of the faculty’s YouTube report, Viewing time Canada. She is also the author of a new book on Canadian television, Media Marketing: Why Canada Has Not Achieved Global Success and How It Can.

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