Stop Bill C-10: Guilbeault’s media giant power grab

With a wink to his broadcasting-giant friends, Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault just tabled Bill C-10, a proposal to try and force 20th century broadcast regulations and taxes onto Internet streaming services.1-2

Guilbeault claims the bill is about supporting Canadian creators — but as is, this legislation will only line the pockets of current broadcasting giants like Bell Media, while leaving new media Internet creators out in the cold.3

Canada needs rules that uplift small creators excluded from the broadcast status quo, not a grab for even more power for legacy media. If we pull all of his critics into the fight, pressure from all sides will force him to reconsider his approach. Add your voice to the petition NOW to send C-10 back to the drawing board!

Send Bill C-10 back to the drawing board!

To: The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage
To: Alexandre Boulerice, NDP Critic for Canadian Heritage
To: Peter Julian, NDP Deputy Critic for Canadian Heritage
To: Alain Rayes, CPC Critic for Canadian Heritage

Please stop Bill C-10’s attempt to impose outdated broadcast standards on the Internet. 

In its current form, Bill C-10 will do nothing to help small & indie online Canadian creators currently left out of the broadcasting status quo. It will only serve to secure the power of legacy media companies who are already benefiting from today’s rigid CanCon/Canada Media Fund structure.

If our government wants to do this right, it will stop trying to force outdated broadcasting regulations on the Internet, and instead focus on reimagining CanCon to include all the identities and platforms of the 21st century.

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Everyone wants Canadian culture to flourish online — but Minister Guilbeault is leveraging that desire to take from new streaming media and prop up legacy broadcast industries. Bill C-10 builds on his earlier proposals for a Streaming Tax, but goes further, proposing to make online streaming subject to the same regulations as offline broadcasting.

Despite Guilbeault’s mad rush, traditional CanCon is not in crisis; its funding is at a 10-year high, by the CRTC’s own estimates from last year.4 Small & indie creators, however, are struggling for funding and exposure — and our outdated definition of CanCon does nothing to help them. Taking funds from streaming platforms to give to traditional broadcasters and imposing a still-to-be-defined set of broadcast-based rules on online platforms will only tilt the scales towards the biggest players in the market, like Bell Media.

The only acceptable regulatory approach is one that starts with explicitly recognizing and supporting the unique nature of new online media, like podcasts and user-generated content channels, that people in Canada are increasingly adopting. It must also center the full diversity of Canadian identities — including multicultural identities — and recognize their equal roles in the future of Canadian content.

By rushing C-10 under broadcast act amendments, rather than taking the time to consider the uniqueness of the Internet, Guilbeault is demonstrating that his top priority is making a cash grab for legacy broadcasters — not uplifting Canadian stories and creators over the long term. If the goal is supporting Canadian cultural production, we have the time to talk this out as citizens and parliamentarians, and do this right. 

We need to send a clear message to the government: replace Bill C-10 and its Streaming Tax with a plan that works for Canada’s future. Add your signature NOW!

Sources

  1. Broadcasting bill targets online streaming services - The Globe and Mail
  2. The Government’s Internet Regulation Bill: Why Bill C-10 Will Mean a CRTC-Approved Netflix Service, Reduced Consumer Choice, and Less Investment in Canadian Culture - Michael Geist
  3. @s_guilbeault on Twitter
  4. Communications Monitoring Report 2019: Figure 4.6 - CRTC

Press: Laura Tribe | Phone: +1 (888) 441-2640 ext. 0  | laura@openmedia.org