1. Will you commit to strengthening CBC’s independence by updating the Broadcasting Act to categorically end political appointments to the CBC's Board of Directors?
Canadians value the independence of their public broadcaster. The Liberal government must do more to improve the independence of the CBC's board appointment process. That’s why the NDP supports transparency and ending of political appointments to the CBC's board of directors.
2. Will you commit to strengthening CBC's independence by updating the Broadcasting Act to give CBC's Board of Directors sole authority to hire and fire CBC's president? This power is currently granted to the Prime Minister.
It is important for Canadians to have confidence in the independence of their public broadcaster. The Liberal government can end any perception of politics in the choice of the president of the CBC if it chooses to. That is why the NDP will continue to push for an independent and transparent appointments process, with no role for politicians.
3. Would you support measures to reduce CBC's dependence on advertising?
Our public broadcaster is an essential information service for people in all parts of the country, particularly during a pandemic. People rely on this important public service that puts independence and quality of information before profit. The Liberal government must ensure that CBC/Radio-Canada receives stable, predictable, multi-year public funding. That is why the NDP will continue to push the Liberal government to increase the level of public funding and to ensure an independent, quality public broadcasting service for people.
4. Would you support measures to require large companies like Google and Facebook to pay Canadian content producers a fair fee for their content?
People are always worried that their local media will be shut down due to unfair competition from the web giants. The Liberal government had promised to make sure that the web giants would be subject to the same rules as the local media, but they still haven't fulfilled their promise. The NDP will make sure the web giants pay their fair share and support the local media that people rely on.
5. Would you support measures that would enforce existing laws to hold Big Tech liable for hosting and recommending illegal content like child sexual abuse imagery, hate speech and death threats?
Hate speech and manifestly illegal content has no place in our society. The Liberal government must require speedy and transparent removal processes from large platforms like Facebook, as recommended by an all-party report of the Ethics Committee. The NDP will continue to pressure the liberal government to ensure that companies like Facebook taking responsibility for what appears on their platforms, just like other media outlets.
6. Will you commit to ending Silicon's Valley tax-free status, by requiring them to charge sales taxes and pay corporate income taxes like every other company?
Our local media and cultural sector are facing unfair competition from American web giants. The Liberal government promised to make the web giants pay their fair share, but the Liberals continue to offer an unfair advantage to multinationals who generate billions in profits and threaten the survival of our local media. That’s why the NDP will to push the Liberal government to make sure that Netflix, Facebook, Google, and other digital media companies play by the same economic rules as Canadian broadcasters.
7. Will you commit to closing the loophole in Section 19 so that foreign digital advertising expenses are no longer tax deductible?
With the pandemic, the crisis that our local media are going through is even more serious and reduces their advertising revenues even more. Not only does the Liberal government maintain this tax loophole that benefits the digital giants, but in 2018 and 2019, the Liberal government spent 5 times more public funds on online advertising through the web giants than through our local media. That's why the NDP clearly supports closing this tax loophole and supporting our vital local media.
8. Will you commit to the equal application of Canadian content obligations for foreign internet broadcasters, so that they will be required to invest in the financing of original Canadian content in the same measure as Canadian broadcasters – no more, no less?
People want to access and are attracted to Canadian content in both official languages. That's why foreign suppliers must contribute and be subject to the same requirements as Canadian broadcasters. The Liberal government must not abandon our local cultural production. The NDP will continue to pressure the Liberal government to ensure that foreign suppliers support Canadian content in both official languages.
9. Online hate is becoming a serious problem. One of the biggest impacts is the degree to which unfettered trolling and abuse deters people from seeking public office. Will you commit to publicly denouncing anybody who engages in illegal online speech against your opponent in this by-election, for example threats of violence, slander or intimidation?
Hateful, racist and discriminatory acts are increasingly present and disturbing. The NDP believes that all such acts should be systematically denounced and condemned, with absolutely no partisanship.
10. Is there anything else you'd like our supporters to know about your views on public broadcasting, local news, Canadian content, or issues surrounding Big Tech?
Most Canadians now get their news from Facebook, and Netflix is the largest broadcaster in the country – but these web giants don’t pay their fair share or contribute to funding Canadian content in the same way that traditional media do. Canadian film, television, and media is up against a tidal wave of well-funded American content – and the Liberals have refused to take action to level the playing field.
That’s why we will step up to make sure that Netflix, Facebook, Google, and other digital media companies play by the same rules as Canadian broadcasters. That means paying their fair share, supporting Canadian content in both official languages, and taking responsibility for what appears on their platforms, just like other media outlets.
I spend time as a freelance journalist writing about live performing arts in Southern Ontario. I know first hand the challenges that traditional print news and magazines are facing in an increasingly digital age. There is a vital role for the federal government to ensure great Canadian journalism continues. It is an essential service for Canadians.
We’ll also continue to press the Liberal government to increase funding for CBC and Radio-Canada to help reverse the damage of decades of funding cuts under both Liberal and Conservative governments. Public broadcasting has a remarkable legacy of connecting all points of our country – and it needs to have an even stronger future now more than ever to help make sure that Canadians have access to accurate, relevant information no matter where they live.