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Pablo Rodriguez reappointed as culture minister in Canadian cabinet shuffle

Pablo Rodriguez has been reappointed as the minister of Canadian heritage, the political post overseeing the local broadcasting and production sector, following a cabinet shuffle from prime minister Justin Trudeau.

Pablo Rodriguez

Rodriguez, who previously held the role from 2018-2019, takes over from Steven Guilbeault, who is moving to another political post after holding the position from 2019 to 2021.

The role, which is akin to the UK’s secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, is a crucial one for the arts and culture industries in Canada, especially during a time when the country is attempting to introduce new legislation that would update the country’s Broadcasting Act, which has not been amended for 30 years.

The cabinet shuffle comes five weeks after Trudeau was re-elected, with his Liberal Party winning enough seats to form a minority government.

With the reappointment, screen-based organisations across Canada have called for swift action on updating the Broadcasting Act, and making streaming services such as Netflix subject to mandatory contributions to the funding of Canadian content.

Over the past two years, the Liberals have attempted to pass new legislation that would bring SVoD platforms under Canadian regulation and introduce measures to bolster the local screen sector, including the modernisation of its main funding institutions: the Canada Media Fund (CMF), Telefilm and the National Film Board.

However, attempts to pass new legislation have been unsuccessful thus far. During its election campaign, Trudeau’s Liberal Party vowed to introduce a new broadcasting bill within 100 days if they were re-elected. The clock is ticking now on the reintroduction of that bill, with heads of Canadian industry organisations calling on the government to move swiftly to implement a new framework around broadcasting and production.

Valerie Creighton, president and CEO of the CMF, said: “We look forward to working with the minister on the commitments made in the Liberal election platform to modernise and increase funding to the CMF to support the long-term contributions of our industry to Canada’s cultural and economic vitality.”

Reynolds Mastin, president and CEO of the Canadian Media Producers Association, said: “We are encouraged by today’s appointment and look forward to working closely with the minister as he and the government follow through on campaign commitments to swiftly update the Broadcasting Act.”

Maureen Parker, executive director of the Writers Guild of Canada, added: “We need his strong presence in parliament more than ever to get much-needed reforms to the Broadcasting Act legislated and enacted for Canadian creators. Canadian content production is at an all-time low and we need Minister Rodriguez and new legislation to lead the way.”

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