As the work of the Senate is about to resume, the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions invites the Senators to begin the third reading of Bill C-11 as soon as possible. The Coalition, whose 50 members represent more than 360,000 creators and professionals and 2,900 businesses in the cultural sector, also invites the Senators to take this opportunity to make one last amendment. An important section of the bill currently sets out different requirements for Canadian and foreign online businesses: this risky and unfair dichotomy must be corrected.
“The Government of Canada has been working to modernize the Broadcasting Act for two years. Canada’s cultural community is urging the Senate to quickly begin the third reading of Bill C-11, which is essential to the survival of our cultural expressions diversity, particularly online. It is critical that all the businesses through which the Canadian public accesses culture comply with our laws,” said CDCE Co-Chair Bill Skolnik.
Despite the unanimous and well-founded demands of the Canadian cultural community, Bill C-11, as currently drafted, still has a major failure. In the section setting out the requirements for the use of Canadian creative resources in the creation, production and presentation of Canadian content, C-11 sets lower expectations for foreign companies than for Canadian ones. This double standard risks creating a two-tiered regulatory system and therefore a race to the bottom in the requirements that the CRTC will have to establish. In concrete terms, this pillar of the Act could even be interpreted as authorizing the web giants to contribute to and promote creations and productions that make marginal use of Canadian talent.
“Protecting and promoting the diversity of Canadian cultural expression means ensuring that our entire creative and production chain is made up of Canadians. This prevalent ambition appears in various forms in the Bill, but is contradicted by the double standard in section 3 (1)(f). Senators have one last chance to correct this major failure, which threatens our cultural sovereignty,” said Hélène Messier, co-chair of the CDCE.
Once the Senate has completed its third reading, the bill will be sent back to the House of Commons, which will have to review the amendments adopted by the Senate. The Coalition will then call on the House of Commons to reject some of the amendments adopted by the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications. Of the four requests the Coalition made to the Senate Committee, only one was adopted. Furthermore, some of the amendments adopted by the Senate come with issues. The CDCE intends to work with members of Parliament at this final stage to ensure that Bill C-11 is truly consistent with its objectives of protecting and promoting cultural sovereignty.
Hélène Messier, CDCE Co-Chair
Marie-Julie Desrochers, Executive Director
438 872-7282 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo @Hermes Rivera
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