BANFF, Alta.– “We can work together to create risks,” says Heritage Minister Melanie Joly. “Yes–a politician talking to you about risks.”
Joly was speaking to a room full of nervous television industry stakeholders as the keynote speaker Sunday at the Banff World Media Festival.
The Minister got a lot of her talking points from the Canadian Media Fund playbook. The culture sector makes up 3% of Canada’s GDP, a $54.6B annual tally. It employs 630,000+ Canadians. There were other charts and graphs showing Canada among world leaders for music and TV exports.
Joly’s address was very centered on the business side of the culture industries–how to make a buck in the digital age. It is a subject everybody at Banff wants answered.
Joly noted that creativity is rising fast as an important international skill and she chalked that up to the coming age of robots and A.I.
The point Joly really was trying to make was that she was there to listen and was going to actively seek feedback from industry stakeholders as well as average Canadians. “What is Canadian content?” is one question she hopes to parse.
She kept encouraging the crowd to be risk takers. At the following session, Corus president and CEO Doug Murphy rhetorically asked if $2.3B–the cost of the Corus takeover of Shaw and Global–wasn’t already enough risk. (Doug showed he’s a true risk taker by the socks he wore to the second session. There was more colour in those socks than in the entire Global fall lineup.)
Joly told the crowd she thinks digital first, that she got into politics because she wanted to “hack the system.” This scared some in the room who could still recall how the first Trudeau would think digital—by showing adversaries his middle digit.
There was talk about how well the culture business is going in places like the UK and Korea. Joly also mentioned the “social contract in this country about supporting our identity.” She covered a lot of bases without actually saying how the government plans to spent that $1.9B they committed in the budget towards helping the industry across the digital divide.
Joly made it clear she doesn’t have the answers–she’s looking for suggestions. “What would you do?” was a response she gave a couple of times to Morayniss’ inquiries. The room seemed OK with that response for now, but let’s just say the bar was pretty active after the session.
[This posting was edited from a previous version that took too many risks.]