Local MP Discusses Legislation to Compel Web Giants To Pay their Fair Share

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Local MP Discusses Legislation to Compel Web Giants To Pay their Fair Share

The web giants will now have to put back into Canadian television programming what they have taken out of Canada in the way of fees, advertising dollars etc., over a couple of decades. That will amount to approximately $1 billion a year which will mean a big boost to the national broadcasting industry.

Finally after 50 years, the Canadian Parliament has updated the Broadcast Act to deal with the hugely changed landscape of the broadcasting environment today. And it is now law. Our MP, Peter Julian, MP, (NDP New Westminster – Burnaby), was a very active member of the committee that refined the Bill so that it serves all Canadians well. He explains what the landscape was and what it will be.

These colossal companies include Youtube, Google, Netflix and all the other streaming services such as Disney among others. They have not had to contribute anything to Canadian programming for a couple of decades. As a result of the dominance of these companies, Canadian programming has reduced dramatically.

A bit of history: the original Broadcast Act had Canadian content requirements for television. That's because American television overwhelmed the airwaves in the early days. Broadcasters had to ensure that some significant portion of their programming met the requirements of being Canadian-made.

The arrival of the web giants on the scene changed the landscape considerably. People weren't watching the Canadian broadcasters as much and this had a large negative impact on Canadian production and all the producers, performing artists, technical staff, and the wide variety of talents that are brought to bear on any one show.

This new law, Bill C-11, is very important to many people locally too as there are many people in New Westminster-Burnaby who work in the industry. There are a couple of large studio complexes in the area too.

The NDP played a leading role in creating and pushing amendments to enhance the newly modified Act. In fact, they put forward and passed more amendments than any other party – 39 in all. Peter Julian was front and centre in that effort.

What were the areas of improvement that the NDP brought to bear? Well, first of all, the re-birthing of community television. It's so important for communities to be able to tell their own stories, discuss their own issues, and connect with their neighbours. The NDP push also ensured that minorities will be an important part of the broadcasting mix, including people with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community, and those of different races, creeds and so on.

Julian also pushed for an amendment ensuring Freedom of Expression. This amendment seemed to cause nonsense criticisms from the conservatives....their taking from Trump's playbook. But as Julian says, it's an important feature of the new act, as before it, certain networks would not take on programs that didn't fit their world view.

Many thanks to our hard-working MP, Peter Julian, and the NDP for helping update the Broadcasting Act... ensuring that the web giants put back into Canada what they take out and that community television will have a more significant role to play. This will substantially increase our potential to create our own stories, nationally and locally. Also thanks to him and the NDP for the amendments which will make the broadcasting environment more diverse, equitable and fair.

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Video Upload Date: September 3, 2022

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