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NFL asks broadcast regulator to keep Canadian ads

In this Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016 photo, Denver Broncosí Peyton Manning holds the Lombardi Trophy after the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game against the Carolina Panthers in Santa Clara, Calif.

Ben Margot/AP

POLITICS BRIEFING

Is the National Football League standing up for Canadian culture?

Something like that.

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NFL Canada's managing director is making the case for keeping Canadian commercials during next year's Super Bowl broadcast on February 5.

The "simultaneous substitution" practice ensures local Canadian television stations run Canadian advertisements — not the flashy American ones — during imported programming.

In a letter to Canada's ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton, NFL Canada's David Thomson asks the federal government to stop the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's order to prohibit simultaneous substitution during the Super Bowl, calling it "arbitrary and discriminatory."

"The long-standing practice of simultaneous substitution is a critical enabler for development and sustainability of Canadian content," Mr. Thomson writes in Nov. 23 letter.

"Advertising revenue generated by the broadcast industry through simultaneous substitution is a primary source of funding for broadcasters to invest in the development, creation, production and distribution of Canadian content."

Lobbying records show the NFL has retained Washington consulting firm Denton's to get the job done.

The Super Bowl is Canada's most-watched television program, with an average of 9 million people tuning in each year.

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— by Laura Stone

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING

> The Conservatives and NDP have written separate letters to the ethics and lobbying commissioners to ask them to investigate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cash-for-access fundraisers.

> The hunt is on for a new federal science adviser, a position eliminated by the previous Stephen Harper government.

> Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef, who belittled a parliamentary committee's electoral reform study last week, has unveiled the government's new round of consultations: an online quiz (MyDemocracy.ca), where Canadians can find out what kind of electoral "innovator" or "guardian" they are. Critics point out that nothing prevents one from taking the quiz multiple times.

> The RCMP has admitted to the Canadian Press that an employee fabricated an excuse to explain a months-long delay in processing a request concerning the long-gun registry.

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> Conservative leadership candidates hold their first bilingual debate in Moncton tonight.

> Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is in B.C. for two days to help stump for the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

> And a public servant was caught stealing almost $1-million worth of electronics from his government job and selling the parts on Kijiji.

WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail): "For these [opponents of pipelines], there is no hope of compromise. Better consultation processes won't change their minds, and better safety measures won't reassure them. No carbon taxes or renewable-energy investments will ever be good enough to gain the 'social licence' that Mr. Trudeau has been counting on to gain approval for new pipelines. They don't care about Premier Rachel Notley's stringent new regulations or tough new carbon taxes in Alberta. As they see it, they are being made to sacrifice their environment on the altar of Alberta's economy, and they think that's a lousy deal. How to manage this impassioned minority will be Mr. Trudeau's greatest challenge."

André Picard (Globe and Mail): "Is pointing out that end-of-life care could be better for seniors in institutional care disgraceful or dishonourable? Is it contrary to the public interest? Of course not: It is the kind of frank talk and advocacy we could use a lot more of in our health system."

Laura Dawson (Globe and Mail): "The strengthened relationship between Mexico and Canada is still relatively fragile. The fractious visa issue has been resolved but the two countries are still separated by language, by distance and an economic relationship that has been mediated by the United States. It will not be easy for Canada to maintain strong bilateral ties with Mexico, should the United States opt out of the partnership, but it is necessary. "

Heather Mallick (Toronto Star): "I've always tried to give Trump-supporting Conservative MP Kellie Leitch the benefit of the doubt because I'm a feminist and she's a woman. I'm soft-hearted when it comes to the sisterhood, although I suspect it is one of those things that, like Rogers' new skinny cable package, was created merely to disappoint."

Don Braid (Calgary Herald): "This is not just a right-wing phenomenon. Trolls on the left can be just as nasty. Every word from Jason Kenney, as he seeks the PC leadership, is assumed to be evidence of  a devious plot. Conservative leaders quickly disowned the 'lock her up' crew. We're Canadian, after all. We circle American trends cautiously before adopting them. But it's becoming ominously clear that some politicians are testing the market for post-fact politics. It can get out of hand, very quickly."

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Written by Chris Hannay. Edited by Steven Proceviat.

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