NETFLIX IN CANADA — AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE CBC, OR IMPERIALIST MENACE?

CBC's CEO Catherine Tait seems almost psychedelically out of touch with the corporation and the public she is supposed to work for

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation CEO Catherine Tait in April 2018. (SEAN KILPATRICK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

CBC CEO Catherine Tait said something truly insane on Thursday, and we owe her a debt of gratitude. It’s so rare that Canadians reach consensus on matters pertaining to Mother Corp. With Hockey Night in Canada now a Rogers production, there’s nothing left at CBC that really unites (anglophone) Canadians around their wireless sets — and even then, we were bitterly divided over the question of Don Cherry.

We can all agree, however, that Tait’s comments at a TV industry conference in Ottawa were bananas. “I was thinking of the British Empire and how if … you were the viceroy of India you would feel that you were doing only good for the people of India,” she said. “Or similarly, 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.’ There was a time where cultural imperialism was absolutely accepted.”

No word of a lie, she was talking about Netflix’s presence in Canada.

Tait conceded that “it is probably the most exciting time in terms of screened entertainment.” But what horrors might lie ahead? “What happens after imperialism and the damage that can do to local communities?” she asked. “Let us be mindful of how it is we as Canadians respond to global companies coming into our country.”

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