This is an open letter to the Canadian entertainment industry, as it stands, in 2024.
As we find ourselves at the whims of legislators looking to push Bill C-11 to prioritize broadcaster beneficiaries over the interest of independent Canadians, I find myself siding with the statement Michael Geist brought before the commission on December 5th, 2023.
I recommend reading his statement in full and taking the time to understand the risks of market exits and what happens when you increase costs to dogpile onto the consumer. It's a completely logical argument that isn't driven by censorship concerns, though those concerns, are fair and valid.
For years, I've been giving Canada the benefit of the doubt, that at the end of the day, citizen interests would trump corporate interests. But this isn't the reality I see before me. Instead, every opportunity to create a meritocracy in the entertainment industry has been thwarted by minority shareholders with majority share.
By imposing broadcast standards, and encroaching on our rights as independent creators to benefit from the wild-wild-west of the internet (like other countries), we're ultimately rewarding those who have already benefited from the Canadian entertainment industry and diminishing anyone new from even trying. Classic example of "cutting them off at the feet".
This fear of healthy competition has become ripe within the Canadian identity where tall poppy syndrome is more viral than Covid. I'm of the mind that everyday Canadians are more courageous, ambitious and capable of innovation than our own government gives us credit for and that it goes directly against the human spirit to strive for complacency.
A good place to start is the conversation around diversity and Innovation, as they are the essential pillars of a thriving entertainment sector. A market rich with competition ensures a tapestry of voices, narratives, and creative styles. This not only reflects upon the multicultural fabric of our nation but also drives technological advancements and international recognition.
An open market elevates Canadian talent on the global stage, fostering a sense of pride in our cultural identity. Squashing that, in the name of diversity and inclusion is deceptive, as it really boils down to passing a law that favours existing beneficiaries over independent voices. The very opposite of diversity and inclusion.
The empowerment of independent creators cannot be overstated.
They are the lifeblood of innovation, injecting fresh perspectives and narratives into the industry. Yet, the current legislative landscape threatens their ability to flourish, favouring established entities and hindering new talent from emerging. This imbalance must be rectified to create a fair and level playing field.
As is always the case throughout history, we must once again challenge the status quo and advocate for policy reforms that support fair competition while safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders. Establishing independent regulatory bodies to oversee fair practices, ensuring transparency in agreements and fair compensation for creators, becomes imperative.
Education and training initiatives play a pivotal role in nurturing the next generation of creators. By providing them with the necessary skills and resources, we empower a wave of innovators capable of pushing the boundaries of creativity.
To keep going on that thought, we should be encouraging collaboration between broadcasters and independent creators, fostering synergistic relationships that benefit both parties. Financial support through grants, subsidies, or tax incentives can significantly aid independent creators and small businesses, facilitating their participation in the market. But it gets muddled when the government is left to define those boundaries, significantly decreasing the speed of progress.
Embracing digital platforms and diversifying content distribution channels not only broadens the audience reach but also stimulates innovation in production and delivery methods.
Above all, we must rally together, engaging in public awareness campaigns to educate and garner support for a competitive and inclusive entertainment market. We need the collective voice of industry stakeholders and the public to influence policymakers, advocating for balanced legislation that promotes fair competition and allows creativity to thrive. If anyone is interested in taking action towards such campaigns you're welcome to connect with me directly and I will help in any capacity I can.
In my assessment, if you were to ask me, "What is the Canadian dream?" As it stands? To move to America and chase the American dream.
This has been the case for years but Bill C-11 will make sure it doesn't change.
Instead, let's propose a positive sum vision for the Canadian entertainment industry that must foster creativity, innovation, and equal opportunity. We need to strive for an environment that empowers every creator to realize their potential and contribute to the vibrant cultural tapestry that defines us.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Canadian Comedian & Small Business Owner