Netflix deal doesnt solve real cultural issues

first_imgAs the fury over a sweetheart deal for Netflix rages, one thing it has exposed is how unwilling the Liberals are to address the hard issues affecting Canadian cultural policies – apparently as unwilling as their Conservative predecessors.When Quebec vowed this week to go it alone in an attempt to get Netflix to collect provincial sales tax, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated his commitment to let the American streaming service continue to escape the GST – because to do otherwise would raise taxes on the middle class. That kind of populist if nonsensical position – if middle-class Canadians chose to buy new services, why should we not pay existing taxes on them? – was the hallmark of Stephen Harper’s refusal to engage on the issue.Another tricky question that Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly never even raises in the 38-page report, titled Creative Canada, is that of foreign ownership. Canada has a series of laws and policies that prevent foreign control in a wide range of cultural activities from broadcasting television programming to selling books and distributing movies. (Canada is not alone in thinking like this; many countries, including the United States, have traditionally kept foreigners from buying their broadcasting networks.) Advertisement Advertisement Facebook Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment The notion has always been that Canadian control promotes Canadian content, although the relationship is not always that direct and depends more on a producers’ economic interests than patriotism: Foreign-owned companies can make money publishing Canadian books, for example, while the business model for Canadian broadcasters relies heavily on U.S. shows.Still, the scandalous Netflix deal does support one argument often made in favour of national ownership: It’s easier to get Canadian companies to play by Canadian rules. (Apparently in exchange for escaping any taxes, Netflix made a commitment to spend $500-million in production in Canada over five years, a sum that seems to represent what it would have been spending already and can include U.S. productions that are merely shooting in Canada.)READ MORE Login/Register With: Advertisementlast_img