Link: The CRTC Is Endangering Canadian Culture And Creators

From Maureen Parker for The Huffington Post:

Link: The CRTC Is Endangering Canadian Culture And Creators
The Canadian industry that creates new shows, whatever screen you watch them on, is very small, as is the Canadian marketplace. And, as in most of the western world except the U.S., new shows are subsidized by government regulation. Why? Because it’s extremely expensive to make programming like drama, for instance, whether it’s for traditional broadcast or streaming. So, all those unique shows from around the world we love to watch — Denmark’s Borgen, England’s Broadchurch, or Canada’s Orphan Black or Letterkenny — don’t get made without some kind of regulation. It’s called supporting our own culture. It’s called having our own Canadian communities, histories, ideas, quirks and humour represented, written by the people who can best do that: Canadian screenwriters. Continue reading.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and owner of TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.
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4 thoughts on “Link: The CRTC Is Endangering Canadian Culture And Creators”

  1. oh balls on some alleged facts – as for cost – well – it costs so damn much more here because canada is so damn cold ! australia is not its hot and is almost the same geo-size, 66.6 % the population, puts fewer $ into it’s tv-movie industry but gets 10 times the aussiecon to watch than we get cancon. canada’s market is so small numbers wise only because canada’s screens are 99.9 % dominated by the u.s. and own control and run everything here including the crtc and most canadians are too stupid to know better – eh.

    1. Not sure how the Australian industry is more successful than the Canadian film industry. Which metrics are you using to determine that it’s more successful?

      Some key statistics regarding the Canadian film industry as of 2014 (source Film & Television Industry Facts ):

      Toronto is the third largest screen-based production centre in North America, behind Los Angeles and New York City.
      Supported 262,700 full time equivalent jobs, including 132,500 film and television production jobs
      Generated $20.4 billion in gross domestic product (GDP)
      Produced $279.7 million worth of computer animation
      Produced $435 million worth of visual effects

      Some key statistics regarding the Australian film industry as of 2012 (source http://www.screenassociation.com… ):

      Supported 46,600 full time equivalent jobs
      Generated $5.8 billion in gross domestic product (GDP)

      The Canadian film industry is many times more successful than the Australian film industry by monetary measure. However, the Australian film industry is more distinctive in that it is not closely associated with Hollywood (distance by both geographic and cultural proximity). Canada is cheaper than Australia to film due to our incredible tax incentives and well established facilities and talent. Also it is cheaper because our landscapes and yes, winter, make blending with American geography much easier and requires less disguising.

      Many Canadian actors/actresses simply move to Hollywood to make their mark and the industry has plenty of people of Canadian origin. It’s more difficult for Australians to move to Hollywood and so if they’re able to become an A-lister, then they get recognized for coming from a much more distinctive country than Canada (which is close to Hollywood culturally and geographically). I can guarantee that a great deal of what you assume is American television is in fact a co-production which counts towards cancon. We produce quite a bit more cancon than that aussies create aussiecon, that’s just a fact. What we need is for the average Canadian to actually take notice of the work we do and take pride in telling Canadian stories. Canadians truly don’t understand the critical importance this has on identity and worldview in a society. This is a root of our inferiority complex with the united states and might one day result in the cultural and political takeover of Canada. The CRTC needs to seriously pick up their game and Canadians need to grow a backbone and stop fawning over their American overlords.

      Also let’s not forget that Canada has the third largest videogame industry in the world and is growing so fast that it will soon overtake japan as the second largest in the world (not even per capita). What about all the great cancon being represented in that industry? Did I mention the videogame industry outpaces both television and film industries? Canadians need to pay closer attention to what Canadians are actually responsible for creating instead of leading by the assumption that something must be American until proven otherwise. Ultimately the CRTC isn’t to blame, the average Canadian is to blame.

  2. I am watching more Canadian content (Thank goodness for Satellite/Cable/Internet) than what is shown here in the U.S. T.V. here really stinks, and yes, when I do watch, I also purchase as much stuff as I can from Canada, so that I can watch great T.V. shows. I also listen to CBC, and other radio shows too. When the government subsidizes (Sorry, subsidises) programming, more than just Canadian watch, we here watch too, and we buy stuff from Canada too.

    If the CRTC decides to follow the footstep of the U.S. and decides to not invest in Canada, then expect a poor ROI (Return on Investment) and a weaker economy. The stats above may be accurate, but that’s assuming people like me in Los Angeles aren’t watching Canadian programming and are not investing in your country’s GDP. Each dollar spent (or in your case, a loonie), you get twoonie or $4 back from the U.S.

    Think about it for a second, if your most popular/famous rock band did not tour the U.S., with the investment your country had for Rush, then they would not be selling out arenas, and the taxes Rush (Or Anthem Records) created would not have been reinvested in your country. As you know, even though the drummer Neil Peart is a U.S. citizen, he is still a Canadian citizen, and he pays taxes into your country. Imagine more than 40 years in the U.S. and the millions the band made for your country?

    CRTC, reinvest in your shows, reinvest in Saving Hope, Trailer Park Boys, Orphan Black, 19-2, and other great shows, and watch how the cash flow from the U.S. will go back into Canada. You can increase your investment in your programs, or you can end up like the U.S. and possibly have a P.M. like Donald Trump…eh?

    1. I agree with what you are saying however the caveat to my previous statement is for Canadians to think about their own country on its own terms as if the United States didn’t exist. Canadians generally rely on the bigger market to the south to make a name for themselves instead of ever even trying to make a name for themselves in Canada. The American market is 10 times the size of Canada with an already established industry and so it makes sense that they want to invest their time and effort their. The problem with this is that Canadians end up telling American stories and all together contribute to the American zeitgeist. This leaves Canadians with slim pickings for local content. If the United States didn’t exist or spoke a different official language other than english or french (even a more distinct accent), then you would find that Canadians would be more easily drawn to the identification and desire for content in their own tongue. Because Canada and the US are so similar in terms of culture and language, Canadians default to an assumption that American content is close enough and they needn’t look further. The US floods our markets with so much content that Canadians feel defeated before even beginning on a project and it is not helped by Canadians lack of desire to spend more for Canadian content that resembles too closely to what they can already get from the US but cheaper and en mass. Sure, Canadians do see a return in profit from people like you who invest in Canadian content after it has been produced, but Canada might have brought in much more if Canadians invested in their own content the way Americans do (Canadians invest much more into American media than their own) with their own content. Unfortunately Canada seems to be stuck in a feedback loop where Canadian investors will only contribute if the Canadian content disguises itself as being American to be sold in the states instead of their own market, and the only way to break out of this loop is to build the interest in Canadians for their own content, which can’t be done because Canadians aren’t being exposed to any discernibly Canadian content from which to build pride and desire for. If Canadians only knew just how much they actually do create and contribute towards, then they would realize that Canada is actually a power house (by per capita means) on the world stage. Unfortunately Canadians happen to be at a unique disadvantage that no other country in the world has due to our similarities with the US, which happens to be the single largest producer of content in the world. Heck, Hollywood itself wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Canadians (literally), because it was actually a co-venture between Canadians and Americans that set up the first studios in Hollywood all those years ago and bailed them out several times along the way, not to mention all the talent and tax credits that go towards a TON of American content. Practically every sci fi show on tv today is a co-production with Canada that uses our facilities, our animators and special effects talent, our craft services, our directors, our producers, our actors, our writers, our construction, our taxes, etc…. yet ALLLLL the credit is given entirely to the Americans for these productions. Only insiders and those who go out of their way to check actually know something about the real contributions of Canadians. It is truly unfortunate the way it is but the only way we are going to break out of this cycle and take on more of the spotlight is if the CRTC increases funding to a point where enough good shows can be made in a row that tell Canadian stories and become very popular among both Canadian and American audiences. Then and only then will investors not make the assumption that the Canadian product is too inferior to invest in. Once we earn some stability with big investors and start competing directly with the American market as identifiable Canadians, we can start to talk about reducing the taxes dolled out to these productions, hopefully eventually they will no longer be needed because investors are actually seeking out more Canadian content. Until then, Canadian content will get ignored by both investors and Canadians alike. Also Canada would never vote in someone as despicable as Trump……the thought alone makes me want to puke. I’m surprised that you guys actually did vote for him but hey, our disgust with the US right now might actually help us seek out more Canadian content, you never know.

      Thanks for the reply,
      Cheers

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