Post Tagged with: "Culture"

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Canadian Heritage Minister Joly Hints Many Cultural Groups Don’t Comply With Lobbyist Reporting Rules

Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage yesterday, facing questions from MPs on a range of digital culture issues. In light of reports this week on lobbying efforts by Internet companies, Joly was asked about meetings with companies such as Google. Joly defended her interactions by noting that the meetings included discussions on Canadian content and emphasizing that she has had hundreds of meetings with cultural groups. That isn’t particularly surprising, but what should raise concerns was her suggestion that the groups rarely register the meetings in the lobbyist registry as required by law.

Joly told the committee:

the reality is that it’s very rare that the cultural sector registers with lobbyists. I’ve had many more contacts with the cultural sector. I’ve had tens, hundreds of meetings with them throughout the country, in French or in English…I’ve had many more meetings with them than the platforms.

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November 3, 2017 3 comments News
What Is it to Be Human in the Fourth Industrial Revolution? by World Economic Forum (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/Q2JwZA

Joly’s Challenge: Digital Cancon Without New Digital Tax Dollars

After months of public consultation and debate, Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly will unveil the government’s plan for Canadian content in a digital world this week. Joly launched the digital Cancon consultation in the spring of 2016 by emphasizing that all policy options were on the table, but the choices have narrowed considerably in recent months.

My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that a potential Netflix tax was a non-starter due to a 2015 election campaign commitment, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau eliminated the possibility of an Internet tax in June, and the government has steadfastly (and rightly) defended net neutrality, meaning there will be no mandated prioritization of Canadian content on the Internet.

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September 27, 2017 2 comments Columns
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Unnecessary at Best, Harmful at Worst: Melanie Joly Seeks Global Consensus on Culture Contributions from Digital Services

Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly heads to UNESCO this week where, according to the Globe and Mail, she will be focused on making the case for a common approach on mandatory cultural contributions from companies such as Netflix. Joly states:

I’ve always said we are ready to have conversations with those companies and those platforms. We are already engaged with them, and will continue to do so. But on a general level, it is obvious that the more we are able to have a concerted approach among countries on this issue, the better we will be able to make sure it is a priority.

Joly’s goal would appear to be to develop a universal position at UNESCO that countries could then leverage to force companies such as Netflix to comply with local content regulations. I’m quoted in the article to the effect that efforts to harmonize sales taxes on digital services makes sense at a global level, but targeting companies like Netflix with new regulations or tinkering with the Internet in violation of fundamental net neutrality principles does not.

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December 12, 2016 8 comments News
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The Trouble With the TPP, Day 29: Cultural Policy Innovation Uncertainty

This week’s lengthy Trouble with the TPP post focused on the likelihood that efforts to require online video providers to pay mandatory Cancon contributions would be challenged under the TPP. While I am not a supporter of extending contributions to companies like Netflix, including such a restriction within a trade agreement is bad policy. Today’s post continues with the culture theme, by examining the risk that other new policy innovations might also be stymied by the TPP.

The Globe and Mail’s Kate Taylor recently wrote a column arguing that Canadian cultural production is in crisis and calling for reforms to address the issue. For example, Taylor cited the possibility of tax credits for advertising on websites that meet a Canadian content threshold similar to the policy for television and radio broadcasters. ACTRA has long called for a similar policy, noting the benefits of tax deductions for advertising on Canadian-owned websites that give prominence to Canadian content.

But would such a policy pass muster on the TPP?  It’s not totally clear that it would.

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February 11, 2016 1 comment News
Photo by Benoît Meunier (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/t1gnsE

The Trouble with the TPP, Day 18: Failure to Protect Canadian Cultural Policy

Culture and the TPP has yet to garner much attention, but that is a mistake. The TPP departs from longstanding Canadian policy by not containing a full cultural exception and creates unprecedented restrictions on policies to support the creation of Canadian content. The Canadian position on trade and culture has been consistent for decades with successive governments requiring a full exemption for the cultural industries. The exemption, which is found in agreements such as NAFTA and CETA, give the government full latitude to implement cultural policies to support the creation of Canadian content.

The TPP’s approach to culture is different from Canada’s other trade agreements. Rather than include an exception chapter or provision, the TPP contains several annexes that identify “non-conforming measures.” This allows countries, including Canada, to list exceptions to specific TPP rules. Without an exception for the cultural industries, the TPP rules banning local presence requirements and national treatment for service providers would place Canadian cultural rules at risk. Annex II includes a Canadian exception for the cultural industries. The exception is promoted in the government’s summary of the TPP, which claims that the agreement:

includes a broad reservation under Services and Investment for existing and future programs and policies with respect to cultural industries that aim to support, directly or indirectly, the creation, development or accessibility of Canadian artistic expression and content.


That led to media coverage reporting that Canada had obtained a full exception to protect cultural policies. A closer look at the actual text, however, reveals that Canada did not obtain a full cultural exception. Rather, there are two notable exceptions to the general cultural exception, which state:

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January 27, 2016 10 comments News