SCGC president John Welsman appeared at the Senate of Canada in Ottawa yesterday to represent guild members before the committee reviewing Bill C-11; the online broadcasting act. Participating in the two hour session, he explained SCGC’s priorities to the committee and answered a number of senators’ questions regarding the technical and in-practice definitions of “Canadian content”.
“Our view is that Canadian art is made by Canadian artists, and Canadian content is made by Canadian creators,” said Welsman. “That’s not ideology; it’s just sound business.”
Referring to the senators’ recent discussions with Netflix, Welsman recalled the streaming organization’s statement that “it’s about copyright” and explained how this is a synonym for ownership. Copyright defines who owns the right to be compensated for future uses of that work and so creators being forced to give up this right as a condition of engagement is especially problematic today.
“The global content giants are […] producing here because of generous tax credits, a favorable exchange rate and, most importantly, our world-class creators. Writers, directors, designers, actors and composers who became world class because of the points-based system focused on Canadian creators,” said Welsman. “Bill C-11 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to underscore that Canadian culture and Canadian sovereignty mean more than foreign companies deciding what is ‘Canadian enough’ when applying for tax credits.”
The video of John Welsman’s testimony is available online at the Senate ParlVU website with his comments heard at 09:03:40, 09:39:55 and 09:56:15.