MONTRÉAL, Oct. 2, 2017 – The organizations making up the Coalition for Culture and Media have expressed their disappointment concerning the fuzzy logic and inconsistent vision of the Canadian government with respect to its Creative Canada roadmap. At a time when people were looking for concrete answers to pressing questions with regard to the sustainability and promotion of Canadian culture and media in the digital era, the federal government has rolled out a partial and incomplete vision based on a taxation strategy unanimously criticized as unfair.
The coalition agrees with the criticism raised in recent days concerning statements made by the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The day following the rollout of her department’s new vision, she acknowledged the sector’s expectations with regard to a vision that is clear, inclusive, fair and in keeping with government actions in previous decades.
The Netflix agreement: Adding insult to injury!
The vision as presented is not aligned to the principles of our declaration (http://www.standingforculture.info). We are also deeply disturbed by the government’s agreement with Netflix, which trivializes the fact that the dealings of foreign multinationals with Canadians follow different standards from those our own companies are bound to follow. In addition to being patently unfair, this is an attack on our cultural sovereignty. The double standard when it comes to taxation is a blatant example of this.
Why should Netflix, a U.S. company that reported earnings of more than $9 billion last year, get special treatment? Does the government really believe negotiating a “bilateral” agreement with an American multinational is a sound way to “protect and promote our stories and our culture”? Does it not see it is setting a dangerous precedent? What are the parameters for Canadian content? Francophone content? We are asking the agreement negotiated behind closed doors be made public so taxpayers can see its provisions.
The Trudeau government is breaking with the past rather than maintaining continuity of the public support and regulatory framework that have made the development of cultural and media ecosystems in Quebec and across Canada possible for the last 50 years.
And what about the other sectors? Apart from the slap in face to print media (“Our approach will not be to bail out industry models that are no longer viable”) as well as online content distributors competing against Netflix, the proposed vision does nothing to address the future of other major components of the communications and cultural sectors, including musical creation, production and dissemination; the book industry as a whole; and regional media and local news. A transition plan into the digital era is certainly necessary, but not at the cost of our own cultural sovereignty!
Seeking to initiate constructive dialogue with the government on this issue
Seeing the extent to which the vision set out in Creative Canada bodes poorly for the future of Quebec’s, and Canada’s cultural identity, the Coalition for Culture and Media intends to continue to seek a dialogue with the federal government to ensure it understands the issues and consequences of its current and future actions. When Minister Joly visits select cities across Canada on her upcoming tour, we will take advantage of the opportunity to share our concerns with her and submit a list of questions and recommendations.
About the Coalition pour la culture et les médias
Approximately 40 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Canadian have signed the declaration to-date. More than 3,500 people and organizations joined the movement in Quebec and across Canada in a single week. Individuals or organizations seeking to view the declaration or to add their voices to this collective outcry are invited to visit the website standingforculture.info.
Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada (APFC)
Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA)
Alliance québécoise des techniciens de l’image et du son (AQTIS)
Association des professionnels de l’édition musicale (APEM)
Association des propriétaires de cinémas du Québec (APCQ)
Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ)
Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL)
Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM)
Association québécoise de l’industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ)
Association québécoise des cinémas d’art et d’essai (AQCAE)
Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA)
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and its communications sector (CPSC)
Conseil québécois des arts médiatiques (CQAM)
Documentary Organizations of Canada, including its Québec chapter
Fédération culturelle canadienne-française (FCCF)
Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ)
Fédération nationale des communications (FNC-CSN)
Front des réalisateurs indépendants du Canada (FRIC)
Forum for Research and Policy in Communications (FRPC)
Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec (GMMQ)
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting
Internet Society Québec (ISOC – Québec)
L’Observatoire des réseaux et interconnexions de la société numérique (ORISON)
L’Observatoire du documentaire
Michèle Rioux, directrice du Centre d’études sur l’intégration et la mondialisation (CEIM)
Performers’ Rights Society (PRS)
Quebec English-language Production Council (QEPC)
Regroupement des artisans de la musique (RAM)
Société de gestion collective des droits des producteurs de phonogrammes et de vidéogrammes du Québec (SOPROQ)
Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma (SARTEC)
Société du droit de reproduction des auteurs compositeurs et éditeurs au Canada (SODRAC)
Syndicat des employées et employés professionnels-les et de bureau (SEPB)
Table de concertation de l’industrie du cinéma et de la télévision de la Capitale-Nationale
Union des artistes (UDA)