You don't know Vicky Eatrides yet? You won't be long without hearing about it.
Probably good at first, but it can't last. This former assistant deputy minister, a lawyer by profession, has held the chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission since last Thursday. As such, she will soon make some strong enemies. If she succeeds in this as well as her predecessor Ian Scott, she will even have several.
For the Quebec cultural community, Madam President leaves with two holds against her. For the English, let's just say a strike. However bilingual she may be, Vicky Eatrides nevertheless usurps the role of another, because if the traditional alternation had been respected, it is a French speaker who would have been appointed. Ms. Eatrides is a specialist in competition, having spent most of her time in this area. The world of culture is therefore rather foreign to him. That's the other take on her.
Her Vice President Adam Scott (no, no, that's not Adam Scott, star of the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation!) will not reassure the cultural community. Scott is another public servant who had advised the Ottawa government on the airwave spectrum for 20 years. Remains Alicia Barin, the new vice-president responsible for broadcasting. She's not a “culture”, but since she spent 20 years at Astral in Montreal, let's be generous and give her the benefit of the doubt.
THE FUTURE OF CANADIAN CONTENT< /strong>
If the cultural community, Anglophone and Francophone, is concerned about the cultural concerns of the new CRTC, it is because the tribunal will be called upon to make crucial decisions for the future of our television and our cinema. It is he who will have to invent and implement the regulations that will follow the famous Bill C-11 when it is adopted in the Commons. Maybe by the end of February if Michael Geist and his followers stop filibustering. The law will force major online broadcasters like Netflix, YouTube and others to contribute to the production of original Canadian content. As our own broadcasters have to.
One of the first “cultural” tasks of the new CRTC bosses will be to review the licensing of CBC/Radio-Canada. In an unprecedented outpouring of generosity and trust, Ian Scott's CRTC had literally freed the public broadcaster from all constraints. With no one, but no one ready for such a free for all, the firm stepped in, asking the CRTC to redo its homework.
AND THE FUTURE OF OUR NEWSPAPERS
When Mrs. Eatrides and her minions have untied all these knots, they will have to ensure that another bill, C-18, does not remain a dead letter. It is the law that will force the internet giants to compensate our newspapers for the articles they publish. They allow them to drain through them an important part of online advertising. The Online Hate Bill is still to come. The CRTC will also inherit its implementation.
I have not yet said anything about all the other minor problems that will end up on the extra large desk of Madame Eatrides. Not the least is ensuring that by 2030 all Canadians, whether in Iqualuit, Tuktoyaktuk or Fort Smith, will have access to broadband so they can watch The Voice, Transplant and Hockey Night.
Happy New Year, Dear Vicky Eatrides!