Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Broadcasting Law | Bill C-10 ‘would be an electoral issue’

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Tony Vaughn
Tony Vaughn
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(Ottawa) Quebec’s cultural community is determined to make its voice heard if Bill C-10, which overhauls the broadcasting law, does not see the light of day before a federal election. He said the various political parties would have to respond to their actions.

Katherine Levesque
Canadian Press

“It’s going to be an electoral issue, you can count on us,” Pascal Saint-Aung, president of the National Union for Communication and Culture, said in an interview with the Canadian Press.

The Trudeau government has announced that it intends to pass a motion to allocate time, with the support of the Quebec bloc, to speed up the adoption of the C-10 before the end of the parliamentary session. But the Liberals’ plans were thwarted by conservatives, who ramped up their tactics on Friday to prevent the restraining order from moving forward.

Even if the Liberals get what they want, C-10 is unlikely to pass the Senate and become law until the end of summer parliamentary work at the end of June. A scenario calling for elections this fall would doom all existing bills, including this one.

The C-10 aims to bring the web giants under broadcast law, forcing them to contribute financially to the creation and discovery of Canadian cultural content. The law is eagerly awaited by the cultural sector, which wants the biggest digital players, such as Netflix or Spotify, to be subject to the same rules of the game as the country’s traditional broadcasters.

This reform is considered even more urgent after the pandemic that has forced many artists into unemployment.

“People are mobilizing. Especially after what we’ve been through 15 months ago, don’t tell me you’re not aware of the urgency of the situation. It couldn’t be more, we’re ‘burying ourselves’ with this, it feels like it’s not possible, that rhetoric.” […] Sophie Prijen, president of the Union of Artists (UDA) appealed in an interview: Take action, it’s urgent.

The C-10 will force digital companies to put a percentage of their income generated in Canada into a fund dedicated to Canadian creators. The Canadian Heritage Department estimates it can raise about $70 million per month.

In an interview with Lethbridge HeraldConservative MP Rachel Harder, a local Alberta newspaper, criticized the approach, saying that the fund would go “to a staggered group of artists who got stuck in the early ’90s because they didn’t. They failed to compete on new platforms.”

“And quite frankly, they produce stuff that Canadians don’t want,” she added.

In her opinion, this group of artists mainly come from Quebec and, according to her, is the driving force behind C-10. He added, “These artists are unable to earn a living from what they produce, so they are asking for government subsidies.”I Harder, who went so far as to say that these artists are “obsolete” in her interview with this newspaper.

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In response to a question about envisioning the C-10 elsewhere in Canada, M.I Prejen says the cultural community outside Quebec is also affected by this reform. But she admits that Quebecers are often the first to be heard.

Photo of Marco Campanozzi, press archive

President of the Union for the Defense of Human Rights, Sophie Pregent

“When something happens at the federal level, first, the irreducible Gaul to make their voice heard, it is always French-speaking Quebecers, and after that, it resonates or does not resonate even in the West. It is a perfectly normal phenomenon,” she laughs.

Moreover, this reform of the broadcasting law became necessary with the emergence of new social media platforms.

It is inevitable for cultural survival. The current model is not sustainable in the long term. […] This model worked well when digital platforms did not exist.

Sophie Pregent, President of the Urban Development Consortium

Whatever the case, the cultural community will be waiting for politicians to woo them, perhaps in the coming months, if the C-10 dies in the series.

“If Bill C-10 isn’t the trick, then what is the airstrip?” asks MI Saint Ong.

“I don’t want to hear trifles like: ‘Our culture is important’, ‘We have to help our culture’, ‘We love French’. […] Because we have something on our hands and the will and openness to finish this question before June, and there are people who have obstructed that. So what is best for you? She adds.

“I don’t know if it was before, during or after the election, but for me, it just can’t be a failure. […] I’m just saying it’s a matter of time. The problem is that the time is 70 million a month. Herein lies the problem. We have to get there. It is inevitable in my opinion,” adds M.I Present.

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