Everything’s on the table’
Changes to Canada’s cultural policies would be first major overhaul in decades, reports Daniel Leblanc. Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly announces the launch of public consultations with consumers and content creators with an aim to bring Canada’s cultural properties – everything from the Broadcast Act to the CRTC – into the digital age
Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly says the main goals of her office’s review of Canadian content rules and regulations, announced Sat., April 22, 2016, are to foster creation of Canadian content and increase the international audience for Canadian creators.
Dave Chan/For The Globe and Mail
Ottawa is ready to blow up the rules governing Canada’s $48-billion broadcasting, media and cultural industries, arguing that decades of technological changes and government inaction have left a broken system in need of a revolution.
“Everything is on the table,” Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly told The Globe and Mail.
Announcing the launch of consultations with consumers and creators of cultural content, Ms. Joly said she is willing to change laws such as the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act, modify the mandates of the CRTC and the CBC, and create new laws or agencies, as needed. The scale of the coming upheaval hasn’t been seen in 25 years, since the Mulroney government revised the Broadcasting Act in 1991 at a time when no one could foresee the arrival of YouTube, Netflix and iTunes.
Ms. Joly said her ultimate goals are to foster the creation of Canadian content across the country, but also increase the international audience for Canadian creators.
“I think the current model is broken, and we need to have a conversation to bring it up to date and make sure we harness its full potential. For a long time, politicians have been afraid to deal with these difficult issues, but I don’t understand why it wasn’t done.… The issue is how can the government be relevant today, instead of being left behind,” Ms. Joly said.
The review of Canada’s cultural policies was not part of the Liberal platform in last year’s election, and wasn’t mentioned in the Prime Minister’s mandate letter to Ms. Joly in November. Instead, the Liberals simply focused their arts and cultural promises on boosting the budgets of the CBC, the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada and the National Film Board, with no mention of deep structural reforms.
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