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.

The Mounties weren’t going to let just anybody quiz Minister Joly at the session

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.]


  1. Jayne Bingler Reply

    I am sure that the Honourable Melanie Joly has worked long and hard in her career only to be reduced to a smarmy description of “attractive” and young”. Ugh…. we can do better here, Bill. It’s 2016 after all.

  2. Agree with @Jayne Bingler’s comment. Bill, surely you can write a piece about the Honourable Melanie Joly without having to bring her appearance into the discussion. Perhaps it’s time for you to crawl into the 21st century and start respecting writing about the conversation as opposed to the gender. Disappointing indeed.

    • Bill Brioux Reply

      Sorry you were disappointed, Disappointed. There certainly has been a lot of negative reaction to the posting, and that does make me stop and think. Offending readers is the last thing I set out to do. Certainly I meant no disrespect to the Minister and–past the lede–the posting really was all about her message on Sunday. Suggestions that I compared her body to her mind seem offside to me; I was trying, in a humorous way, to poke fun at conventions and expectations and, really, at television. The jokes don’t always work, but, as the Minister says, sometimes you have to “take risks.”
      I also think it should still be OK to suggest people–men and women–are beautiful, and especially in 2016. Nobody got upset a few weeks ago when I suggested Trevor Noah was handsome. Happy to hear more from you and others on this and thank you for taking the time to get in touch.

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