Canadian content rules fear and bigotry – Cowichan Valley Citizen



Canadian content drives fear and bigotry

Subject: “Canadian content rules are essential to the growth of Canadian entertainment” (August 3)

If the United States can be the international media powerhouse, it is without its own “local content requirements”, so certainly can Canada. The belief that without these regulations that there would be little or no Canadian media is logically misleading and fueled by sheer confirmation bias. This semi-xenophobic fear of “foreign” (American) content is nothing more than thinly disguised alarmist propaganda and fanaticism without any concrete foundation. It also stinks of nationalism, which ironically is bad according to the left. Blaming or crediting the United States for being an “initiator” of local content rules is laughably backward. I guess a group of insecure leftists are going to be nervous and alarmed if the ideals of American free enterprise and expression are widely disseminated. Horrors, people might start to believe it.

If the writer of the letter appreciates and consumes Canadian media, that’s okay. They are even free to love Boys in the trailer park (entertaining, yes, but quality television it certainly isn’t). I have no problem with that. Either way, I’m thankful that I live close enough to the border that I have a bunch of American channels over the air (and later, cable) to get more of what I wanted to watch. I’ve never positioned myself as the absolute arbiter of what is objectively good media, but I think I’m a good judge of the writing and structure of the story.

The writer makes a big straw man assuming I don’t consume any Canadian media. I like American, British, Japanese (anime) stuff, and yes, even Canadian stuff. I can’t make an exhaustive list here as that would make the letter incredibly long, but I prefer sci-fi, animated shows especially from the 70s and 80s, 80s action / adventure, comedy and fantasy . My first consideration is not: “Is this Canadian?” “But rather:” Do I like that? And “Is it entertaining / good enough?” Whether or not something is Canadian doesn’t even enter the equation at all for me, because I don’t need the Canadian media to tell me how to be Canadian. Damn, even The smallest hobo (80’s version) is not very good; just about all worth watching is the dog. Watching him doesn’t make a person more Canadian. Human play and writing left something to be desired, which is probably why a child I knew wrote The smallest hobo fanfiction at the time.

Netflix has kind of changed the game here and made content regulation obsolete, especially if you have a good VPN. Netflix has not purchased Canadian shows because there are Canadian content rules. He bought them because he loved them and believed American viewers and others around the world would appreciate them. If something didn’t exist, Netflix can and will exist, without government help. Canadian culture – whatever you think it is – is not in danger here; it will not disappear if the airwaves are no longer loaded with Canadian content quotas.

Whether the unspoken underlying belief is that without government funding these shows wouldn’t exist, that’s an entirely separate issue. America has 300 million potential media consumers, compared to about 38 million in Canada. This is the reason why Canadians like Stephen Amell and William Shatner went to Hollywood. If the United States likes something that we make, we don’t need the government to fund it.

A partial list of countries that have content regulations doesn’t really inspire confidence, as many of them are repressive, especially when it comes to free speech.

Of course, no one is literally forcing someone to watch something they don’t want. A clockwork orange style, but given this reality, why establish or maintain rules that limit people’s choices? I don’t turn off the TV if what is on Canadian TV doesn’t appeal to me; I’m just turning it to an American channel, because I can.

April J. Gibson





Comments are closed.