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Netflix Hires Lobbyists To Bend Canadian Ears

U.S. video streaming giant looks to influence Ottawa as its Canadian expansion faces local pushback.

TORONTO -- Netflix has hired its first Canadian lobbyists as this country’s Internet usage-based billing debate heats up.  

The federal registry of Canadian lobbyists in Ottawa reveals the U.S. video streaming giant hired Subrata Bhattacharjee of legal firm Heenan Blaikie to meet with CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein, and Jean-Pierre Blais, the assistant deputy minister at the heritage department in Ottawa. 

In addition, Lynne Hamilton of the GCI Group is also knocking doors in Ottawa on Netflix’s behalf.

The federal registry also reveals former Ottawa mandarins Jan Skora and Leonard St.-Aubin have also been hired to advise Michael Drobac, Netflix’s recently-installed director of government relations stateside, on the Canadian expansion. 

Netflix Canada, a $7.99 per-month video streaming service, has faced increasing push-back from Canadian players either attempting to throttle the U.S. competitor by introducing usage-based billing, or urging the CRTC compel Netflix Canada to support local content production.

Ensuring a smooth expansion in Canada is key to Netflix, which has signaled it will further expand overseas as Netflix.ca is on track to be profitable by its first anniversary next September.