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What’s Canadian? Minister to modernize definition of a Canadian film and TV program

Definition of Canadian content is at the heart of a draft law before Parliament

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says he is going to review what qualifies as a Canadian film or TV program as part of a move to modernize the country’s broadcast laws.

The definition of Canadian content is at the heart of a draft law before Parliament that would make streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ feature a certain amount of Canadian programs, as traditional broadcasters must do.

Critics say the current rules need updating and programs about Canadian issues — such as the Toronto Maple Leafs — do not tick enough boxes to be counted as Canadian, while others about non-Canadian subjects such as Donald Trump qualify.

Disney’s “Turning Red,” which tells the story of growing up as a Chinese-Canadian teen in Toronto and stars Ottawa-born Sandra Oh, did not count as Canadian under the rules.

Rodriguez, who is set to meet the German culture minister in Germany this week, says he plans to consult on the issue, and is also speaking to other countries about their rules.

The United Kingdom has a broader definition of British film, to include works focusing on British subjects, such as the life of William Shakespeare.

—The Canadian Press

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