“And not just Canada’s. Any government that seeks to protect its national culture from the forces of globalization will fail. The digital universe is too powerful.
For this country, the beginning of the end came last Friday, when a Netflix executive told the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that it can go to hell. Or words to that effect…The CRTC is considering whether to fence in the American-owned video streaming service. Commission chair Jean-Pierre Blais became agitated during a hearing when a Netflix executive refused to reveal how many Canadian subscribers it had and other data….When radio and then television came along in the 1930s and 50s, the federal government created a regulator to assign frequencies to different stations, to avoid confusion. But Ottawa couldn’t leave well enough alone. To protect Canadian culture from American competition, it created a state broadcaster, and compelled private broadcasters to include Canadian content and to contribute to a fund that subsidized Canadian music and television.
But then the Americans invented the Internet, and for years now it’s been clear that Canadian cultural protectionism is over. If Mr. Blais really does try to rein in Netflix, the popular backlash will only hasten the CRTC’s demise.
Al Smith email@example.com @literateowl