Netflix should add more to Canadian culture: feds

Minister of Canadian Heritage and Quebec Lieutenant Pablo Rodriguez rises during question period in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on Feb. 4, 2022. Rodriguez says streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Disney and Amazon, are “the new big players” and should contribute more to Canadian culture. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

OTTAWA – Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney and Amazon are “the new big players” and should contribute more to Canadian culture.

In a debate in the House of Commons about a bill to regulate online streaming, Rodriguez says updating the broadcasting law is long overdue and needs to cover commercial content on social media and streaming platforms.

He says the last time the law was updated in 1991, people took out videos from Blockbuster and listened to Walkmans.

Rodriguez says he wants to see the creation of more Canadian programs to promote homegrown talent, such as CBC’s “Schitt’s Creek” and “Anne with an E,” which also streamed on Netflix.

But he says he is flexible about how streaming platforms contribute to Canadian culture, and they could use different models including putting money in a fund.

The minister says he has “fixed” concerns raised by critics of a previous version of the bill that it would clamp down on people watching or creating content for social-media platforms.

Conservative MPs expressed worry that non-commercial creators of digital content could be affected by the law.

Rodriguez says in an interview he met with influencers and online creators and “the bill is not about them.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2022.

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