The situation facing Canadian broadcasting is stark. More than 50% of Canadian households subscribe to Netflix, but unlike Canadian broadcasters, Netflix has no legal obligation to produce or present Canadian content. Likewise, services like Facebook, which are increasingly broadcasting video, are not required to comply with the same standards of truth, accuracy, quality, and decency as Canadian broadcasters are. Unless Canada assumes jurisdiction over these companies, there is no way to ensure that they comply with Canada's democratic will.
Our position is simple: "All players in Canada’s media and broadcasting system – no matter how they deliver content – should be subject to equitable rules and responsibilities, including equitable contributions to the creation of Canadian content."
The stakes could not be higher. The words “democracy” and “democratic” do not appear in the current Broadcasting Act. This reflects the zeitgeist of the early 1990s, when liberal democracy was not just ascendant but seemingly unassailable.
No informed person could say that the same is true today. Even in mature democracies like the United States and Canada, "democratic backsliding" is on everyone's lips.
The window for action is closing fast. We sincerely hope that this submission will contribute towards an expedited effort to apply the same laws and regulations to all Canadian broadcasters, even those that broadcast online.