CBC President Catherine Tait says Netflix’s online-streaming service is doing to Canadian culture what European colonizers did to the peoples of India and Africa in previous centuries. “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. Or similar, if you were in French Africa, you would think, ‘I’m educating them, I’m bringing their resources to the world, and I’m helping them,’” Ms. Tait told the audience of a conference yesterday.
On the other hand, Jim Compton, a founder of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, said he’s not impressed with the public broadcaster’s Indigenous programming. “CBC has been paying lip service to us for years," he told The Globe.
And also on the topic of Netflix: some federal politicians say the media company should compensate residents of Lac-Mégantic for using footage from the deadly rail disaster in the Quebec town in the postapocalyptic movie Bird Box.
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John McCallum was recently fired as Canada’s ambassador to China for comments he made about the legal case of Chinese businesswoman Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Canada in December and will be undergoing extradition hearings to send her to the United States to face charges. The Liberal government said Mr. McCallum was let go because his comments were out of line with the government’s official position. But, The Globe and Mail has learned, Mr. McCallum had been telling Canada’s business community the same thing for weeks.
The Parliamentary Budget Office says the federal government probably spent on the high side when they bought the Trans Mountain pipeline last year, especially if construction on the project is delayed. “If it was a car, we’d say they paid sticker price,” Yves Giroux, the PBO, said.
The Supreme Court of Canada says bankrupt energy companies need to prioritize environmental cleanup over paying back their creditors.
The Ontario government is looking into ways to privatize health care, according to a leaked draft of upcoming legislation.
Marie Henein, the lawyer for Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, questioned Zita Astravas, the chief of staff to the defence minister, in court yesterday.
Canada’s peacekeeping mission in Mali is set to wrap up this summer, and its duties will be replaced by troops from Romania.
And there are a lot of people who make The Globe what it is, but who are unknown to readers because they work behind the scenes. The Globe lost one of its best editors this week, who was widely appreciated in the newsroom for making every story he touched better. Bob Levin, a talented writer and editor who worked at The Globe for more than a decade before retiring last year, died this week. Here is an essay he wrote a few months ago about the complicated relationship he had developed with food – given that, after his fourth bout of cancer, he was no longer physically able to eat.
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Justin Trudeau’s leadership: “After only a few years in power, the Prime Minister should not be such a polarizing figure that this fall’s vote is All About Him. Stephen Harper successfully skated through three elections before he was faced with a referendum on his leadership in 2015, which he lost.”
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the cost of buying the Trans Mountain pipeline: “Risk is more or less the biggest factor in determining the pipeline’s price tag. Trans Mountain’s real eventual value, a few years from now, won’t match the PBO’s estimate. Its value will either be a lot lower or a lot higher, depending on whether it gets through all the legal and regulatory hoops and actually gets built. We just can’t be sure which.”
Michael Geist (The Globe and Mail) on paying for Canadian content: “The unsurprising reality is that the new tax and regulation proposals will ultimately leave Canadian consumers paying the bill. New digital sales taxes would be paid by consumers, not companies that merely collect the applicable taxes. New taxes on Netflix to pay for Cancon would invariably lead to increased monthly subscriber costs and/or smaller content libraries to meet the new Cancon quotas. New taxes on ISPs or wireless services would lead to even higher prices and reduced affordability.”
Amanda Clarke (Policy Options) on bringing private-sector innovation to the public sector: “Government’s excessive hierarchies, risk-averse approval processes and dated communications practices are ripe for reform and certainly can stand in the way of much-needed government innovation. The point is rather that tech-sector-inspired theories of government propagated by academics, consultants and ‘digital thought leaders’ don’t do the hard work of explaining how governments can reform their hierarchies, manage risk and become more open while still satisfying core principles of Westminster democratic governance. In this sense, mainstream theories of digital government are at best of little practical use to the policy-makers meant to implement them and, at worst, irresponsible approaches to public management.”
Doug Saunders (The Globe and Mail) on actions by Canada and the U.S. in Venezeula: “The abrupt entry of Donald Trump and his administration into Venezuela’s hopeful moment has an effect similar to Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, in which the very act of observing changes the nature of the thing being observed. Washington’s ham-fisted embrace of [Juan] Guaido and his movement has made Venezuela’s hopeful, progressive moment – and the growing circle of democratic countries that helped bring that moment about – look to many observers like something else entirely.”
Charles Burton (The Globe and Mail) on Canada-China relations: “In retrospect, we can see that Canada’s approach to China, up until the detention of the two Canadians, had become dysfunctional. It amounted to a foreign policy designed to serve the interests of Canada’s business and government elite, emphasizing, over all else, the promotion of Canadian prosperity by seeking greater access to China’s burgeoning market.”
Brigitte Pellerin (Ottawa Citizen) on commuting: “I see cars lined up on Greenbank or Hunt Club roads while out for my morning jog and can’t help thinking that being stuck in that kind of non-moving traffic twice a day, every day, must make you a little bit dead inside. That’s why, if I worked outside the home, I would choose to live close to my work, even if that meant a much smaller (also older, and thoroughly lacking in granite) living space. I would pick location over lifestyle because, to me, a life spent in traffic is not worth living.”