Screen industry reacts to throne speech

CMPA, Friends, WGC are among the organizations encouraged by the government's commitment to updating the Broadcasting Act.

R epresentatives of Canada’s screen industry are applauding the federal government’s commitment to a new Broadcasting Act in this week’s speech from the throne.

In the speech delivered Tuesday (Nov. 23), Gov. Gen. Mary Simon vowed to reintroduce legislation “to reform the Broadcasting Act and ensure web giants pay their fair share for the creation and promotion of Canadian content.”

The Liberal party promised during its Oct. 26 cabinet unveiling to table new legislation to replace the now-defunct Bill C-10 within the first 100 days in office as a re-elected minority government.

The amendment to the Broadcasting Act – which aimed to bring domestic regulation to foreign-based streaming giants such as Netflix, Disney and Amazon – did not pass before the election in September.

Pablo Rodriguez (pictured), who was re-appointed minister of Canadian Heritage last month, has been outspoken about plans to regulate web giants and is seen by many in the industry as the ideal person to table a new bill.

Here’s how various organizations are reacting to the speech:

“We are encouraged by commitments in the throne speech to update the Broadcasting Act and ensure web giants contribute to the creation and promotion of Canadian content. We look forward to working with all parties to pass a new bill that will ensure a bright future for Canadian film and TV.”

– tweet from the Canadian Media Producers Association

“FRIENDS is pleased to see the government both recommit to standing up for Canadian stories and ensuring that Big Tech contribute their fair share, by updating the Broadcasting Act. During the last election, FRIENDS supporters sent political leaders a strong message that they care deeply about Canadian content. We will continue to work with the minister of Heritage to ensure that any updates to the Broadcasting Act lead to the protection and promotion of Canadian storytelling.”

– statement from Raymonde Lavoie, chair of the board of directors of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting

“The throne speech acknowledgement of the need for a new Broadcasting Act to reflect the digital environment creators have been thrown into for the past 20 years, without a net, was expected. But now let’s get it done and quickly. We are relying on Minister Rodriguez to get the new bill passed and referred to the CRTC in the next six months. Canadian content is hanging on by a toenail.”

– statement from Maureen Parker, executive director of the Writers Guild of Canada

“On behalf of performers from across Canada, we applaud the federal government’s announcement to re-introduce legislation to reform the Broadcasting Act and ensure web giants pay their fair share for the creation and promotion of Canadian content. With our Canadian screen industry poised to grow exponentially in ambition, reach and profitability, the government is clearly signalling it is ready to seize this moment to strengthen our Canadian cultural industries. ACTRA looks forward to supporting our elected representatives so we can build a stronger country, including our ability to tell rich and diverse Canadian stories with the necessary tools for the 21st century. It is now up to our federal parties to work together to deliver real change for Canadians.”

– statement from ACTRA National president Eleanor Noble

“Very pleased to see the speech from the throne mention the reintroduction of legislation to update the Broadcasting Act. Canada’s TV, radio and specialty broadcasters need fair and equitable rules to compete with massive global unregulated players in our backyard.”

– tweet from Kevin Desjardins, president of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters