Mark Goldberg

Fox Group Dispatch

CRTC takes to Twitter to #TalkTV

Earlier this week, CRTC Chair JP Blais took to Twitter to have a chat about the second phase of the Commission’s Talk TV consultation.

The chat took place during the Olympic quarter-final men’s hockey game between Canada and Latvia, and the timing itself was the subject of one of the questions.

The tone seemed chippy at times; when the Chairman was asked if the CRTC had the jurisdiction to regulate Netflix, the response wasn’t a simple “yes” or “no”. Instead, the answer was “I don’t want to debate jurisdiction online. See section 4(2) of the Broadcasting Act.”

Let’s look at Section 4(2) of the Broadcast Act.

(2) This Act applies in respect of broadcasting undertakings carried on in whole or in part within Canada or on board

(a) any ship, vessel or aircraft that is

  1. (i) registered or licensed under an Act of Parliament, or
  2. (ii) owned by, or under the direction or control of, Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province;

(b) any spacecraft that is under the direction or control of

  1. (i) Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province,
  2. (ii) a citizen or resident of Canada, or
  3. (iii) a corporation incorporated or resident in Canada; or

(c) any platform, rig, structure or formation that is affixed or attached to land situated in the continental shelf of Canada.

Clear on that?

I’m not sure how many Canadians would be able to readily find the Broadcast Act, let alone understand what spacecraft, ships, vessels or aircraft have to do with a computer app. And that was just the second question asked by a member of the general public.

The question didn’t seem to be baiting the Chair for a debate. It would seem reasonable for a “conversation with Canadians” to be able to get a straight answer to a pretty basic question: In the view of the Chairman of the CRTC, does the Commission have the jurisdiction to regulate Netflix?

I thought it might be helpful to capture the Twitter conversation to make it easily accessible for review.

The following is the English language Twitter chat that took place on February 19, 2014 at 1:00pm [eastern].

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