By Ala Buzreba, March 19 2015 —
Canadian media is often overshadowed by our neighbour to the south.
Many of our publishers and broadcasters require government support to stay afloat. Think CBC, which operates radio, TV networks and a website in both English and French and is primarily funded by the government.
This protection of media is unnecessary. It’s already difficult to tell Canadian and American media apart, and what’s distinctly Canadian isn’t important or special enough to protect.
America and Canada are intertwined in a number of ways. Our economies depend on each other and with the exception of Quebec, we speak the same language.
Our media is no different. While I know that the CBC exists, I also know what other stations I prefer, and most of them are American.
Even media companies that operate in Canada give us the watered down version of American services. Everyone under the age of 25 uses an add-on to access American Netflix, which has twice as many titles as the Canadian version.
While the government has clear rules for what makes a film Canadian, it’s difficult for consumers to tell. Is it a Canadian director? What about Canadian actors? Are all films shot in Vancouver or Toronto Canadian by virtue of location? Our cultural and social values are already similar enough with America’s. I never question if what I’m watching, reading or listening to is Canadian.
Sure, we might feel pride when a homegrown show like Orphan Black wins at a fancy American awards show. But that feeling of patriotism isn’t worth the red tape and bickering over Canadian media we currently have.
In theory, the idea that we should protect the Canadian media industry is fine. There are talented people in this country and interesting stories to be told. But in reality, federal regulations prop up bad TV shows and force our radio stations to play music no one really likes.
No one should control what Canadians read, watch or listen to, including our government. Going out of our way to ensure that the media we consume is Canadian is a waste of time when other media is easily available.
Canada can maintain its identity and sovereignty while still being influenced by America.