Netflix has told the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, otherwise known as the CRTC, what people have been saying for years: you have been weighed, measured, and found redundant. I for one am thankful, given that the CRTC's neo-Soviet mission of "promoting Canadian culture and programming" never made much sense. Canadian musicians, actors, and comedians are not only now well known and respected today, but many have actually been given awards and accolades that attest to their fame and ability. In fact, Netflix has probably done more to promote Canadian programming by restarting Trailer Park Boys than the CRTC has done in its entire 46 year existence.
Many people fail to realize just how far the CRTC rabbit hole goes. Ever wonder why the same dozen Canadian bands are played at some point on the radio? That's because the CRTC mandates that all radio stations, regardless of purpose or audience, play Canadian content or "Can-con" as they say in the industry. And ever wonder where all the good commercials have gone during the Superbowl? That's right, CRTC cretins meddling in your personal life all over again.
To be clear, there is a great deal of good Canadian content out there. We are a talented group of people, which is why even Americans know and love many of our famous musicians and entertainers. What would the 1980s have been without John Candy? Or the 90s without the Bare Naked Ladies? Even pop artists from Canada are given a warm and idolatrous welcome in stadiums around the USA.
But there's a dark side to the CRTC's mission as well, namely promoting or subsidizing programming simply because it's "Canadian". Supporting anything that has a maple leaf without criticism or reservation is an invitation to be taken advantage of and it belittles the task at hand. In fact, a few years ago, a very prominent figure in the Vancouver theatre community used their acceptance speech to state that it was time to stop treating the arts like a school project or charity case - it needed to become a business so it could have standards and dignity. That same mentality is needed throughout Canadian media.
We have all seen the problem of uncritical promotion of Canadian content as year after year we see terrible pilots for shows that no one will ever watch debut on our public broadcaster. And promoting culture is never a neutral thing, no matter what the academics might tell you, which means that someone out there is deciding what qualifies as "Canadian culture" and what doesn't: I highly suspect that's how Canada's very proud military history has been all but obliterated while David Suzuki's crackpot pronouncements are now canon.
If the CRTC has any role left to play at all, it is in telecommunications and it boils down to a simple mission - destroy the oligopoly of Telus, Roger, and Bell so cell phone rates go down. Not only would the public rally to the CRTC if it showed some serious and meaningful initiative, they might even switch to local service providers if they saw there was hope.
Ultimately, the chief bureaucrats at the CRTC ought to have the self-awareness and self-interest to see that they are fighting a losing battle, both with private content providers and with the current federal government. Canadian's aren't afraid of American culture assimilating us, and we have punched well above our weight in the entertainment industry for generations at this point. And in the end, if they don't change their ways, that's just fine: I won't be able to hear their protests over the sound of the new Doritos Superbowl commercial.