Quebec awaits Netflix investment
Women hold up signs supporting gender equality at the Women's March on International Women's Day in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2017. A survey found only 39 per cent of Canadian companies have accurate data on wage differences. MONTREAL—ON a recent episode of Quebec’s popular TV talk show, Tout le monde en parle, co-host Dany Turcotte asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau why he hadn’t heard of any significant Netflix investment in Quebec since a major announcement last year.
The U.S. streaming giant committed in September 2017 to investing $500 million over five years in Canadian-produced movies and television shows, in both English and French.
“It’s not happening fast,” Turcotte said to Trudeau about Netflix money in Quebec. “There is nothing happening.”
The prime minister replied defensively: “On the contrary.” Netflix would invest “even more than they had initially planned to,” he promised.
Maybe Trudeau knew something about Netflix’s plans that Netflix promised a five-year,$500-million investment in Canada.
Turcotte, a Quebec show-business veteran, didn’t.
But no Quebec-based production companies or unions representing actors, directors or writers contacted said they have heard about French-language movie or television series in development by Netflix in the province.
Netflix’s $500-million announcement was seen by cultural and political leaders in the province as a sop to the industry after Ottawa decided against imposing sales taxes on streaming services such as Netflix. WWW.THESTAR.COM
It’s a question of equity, said Gilles Charland, director general of the union representing Quebec’s image and sound technicians.
“It’s not about adding a tax on people,” Charland said. “It’s about ensuring that whether you’re subscribed to Bell or Videotron or Shaw or Netflix, you pay a tax for using that product.”
The $500-million pledge was supposed to make up for the break given to Netflix, but more than one year after the announcement, francophone Quebec directors, writers and actors are still waiting for a big project.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Gabriel Pelletier, head of a union representing 700 film, television and web-based directors in Quebec.
“It takes time to develop projects,” he conceded, “but still, there should at least be some deals for developing something.”