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CBC president Tait warns of cultural imperialism danger from Netflix

President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada Catherine Tait looks on during a press conference in the foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — CBC president Catherine Tait is drawing a parallel between Netflix’s cultural domination and the colonialism of the British and French empires.

The head of the public broadcaster made the analogy today during her appearance on a panel organized by the Canadian Media Producers Association in Ottawa.

Tait noted there was a time when cultural imperialism was considered acceptable.

She gave the example of the British viceroy in India who felt he was helping the local people. Tait added the same was true of French administrators who thought they were educating Africans and helping them export their resources.

Tait said she appreciates Netflix’s international content but warned that imperialism leaves damage to local communities in its wake. She said Canadians need to be careful as they respond to global companies coming into the country.

Tait made the comments in front of Stephane Cardin, Netflix’s director of public policy for Canada, who also took part on the panel. He appeared to shake his head as she compared the streaming service to past empires.

The Canadian Press