CBC President Compares Netflix’s Growing Influence to British and French Colonialism

CBC president Catherine Tait characterizes the growing impact of Netflix in Canada to that of the British and French empires.


According to a new report from The Globe and Mail, the newly-installed president said parallels can be drawn between the growing influence of Netflix and the colonialism of both the British and French empires.

She said as much during her appearance on a panel organized by the Canadian Media Producers Association in Ottawa, alongside Stephane Cardin, Netflix’s director of public policy for Canada.

“So I’m going to just go a little off script, because I was thinking about the British Empire, and how if you were there and you were the Viceroy of India, you would feel that you were doing only good for the people of India,” Tait told a panel at the Prime Time conference in Ottawa.

As she shared a stage with Cardin, Tait added: “If you were in French Africa, you would think, ‘I’m educating them, I’m bringing their resources to the world, and I am helping them.'”  Canada’s top public broadcast exec then warned her country stood to pay a steep price if it allowed its film and TV industries to be swamped by Netflix and other insurgent U.S. digital players.

“Fast forward to what happens after imperialism and the damage that can do to local communities. So all I would say is, let us be mindful of how it is we as Canadians respond to global companies coming into our country,” Tait said.

Other rival Canadian broadcasters also took aim at Cardin during the industry panel, as they called out the U.S.-based digital player for refusing to be regulated and be subject to content quotas and spending obligations as it marketed its U.S.-based streaming service north of the border.

“We’re not here [in Canada] to chase a low dollar. We’re here because of the quality of the creators, the infrastructure and the crews,” Cardin told the gathering of Canadian indie film and TV producers. “We think we too can provide an opportunity for Canadians to make stories in English and French that can get to the world like they never could before. We’re complementary. We’re not here to diminish [the Canadian system] or do it any harm.”

Meanwhile, Netflix failed to comment on the motion adopted in the House of Commons on Wednesday demanding the streaming giant remove all images of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy from a number of films, including “Bird Box,” and compensate the victims of the disaster.