Unformatted text preview: CS 260
Canadian Cultural Policy:
History & Structure Canadian Cultural Policy Fundamental: Is there too little truly Canadian culture
produced in the media?
How did our “cultural industries” emerge? 1919: Test programs with Canadian Marconi Co. Montreal –
military connection (later…) 1929-1934: First Royal Commission on Broadcasting… why? By 1922 U.S. radio already filling Canadian airwaves Canadian Cultural Policy Canadian response often mishandled – despite multiple
Commissions: Any suggestions as to why? Rational, nonetheless: national cultural “security” Not just too many American stations, programs, not just
cultural challenges, but real national security. What was happening “culturally” in the 1930s?
(or what did we think was happening? Our response?) Canadian Cultural Policy 1930s -- Defending the so-called “founding” nations British & French (forgot First Nations!!?) Central Canada was Anglo & French (most populated) Fear of Central-East European immigrants – out West Fear of Germans & Communists (“5th Column”) WWII on the horizon… fears of national security – not just
“cultural” security as in the arts. Canadian Cultural Policy Fear of “colonization” by U.S. culture – today? First efforts communication & transport (“form”) Second (still problematic): our own culture (“content”) Good attempt at national security: Railways, canals, telegraph,
radio – communication & transport (“form”) “Hollow” form without Canadian content as Canadian Identity Canadian Cultural Policy Ultimate goal: sovereignty through commissions & legislation Broadcast & Telecomm Acts, e.g. Government action (Information Highway Advisory Council
biggest recent effort -- 1994-1997) Why? Economic value (“info. economy”) and “public good” Government undertakes projects as example to private sector –
and to compensate for “market failure.” (Economics!) Canadian Public Policy Government involvement in the construction of the transportation infrastructure was an outcome of the failure of
private interests to complete large-scale projects. (the “public good.”) What does Innis say about the role of transportation as
communication (time & space biases)? (The Bias of Communication) Canadian Public Policy As an economist Innis celebrates government support
in building railways Apart from “moving” information what role did
railways first have in communication? Space bias! Made Canada “Canadian” – from coast to coast Canadian Public Policy Telegraph companies’ wires ran along tracks – early
example of technological “convergence” -- think of
your Android phone, lap-tops Telegraph provided early need for “catch-up”
regulation like all subsequent communication devices Canadian Public Policy But railways/shipping also problematic internationally Canada typically ships raw materials (oil today) Returns with manufactured goods. Consider in relation to information technology – in any era Canada has an excellent communication infrastructure… but
where is the content from? Canadian Public Policy Cheap cultural content pours over the border
“Economies of scale” put Canadian culture in peril:
Economies of scale …cause the average cost of producing something to
fall as the volume of its output increases. In Canada it might cost
$3,000 to produce 100 copies of a magazine But in the U.S. only $4,000 to produce 1,000 copies. The main elements
of cost in producing a magazine (editorial and design) are unrelated to
the number of magazines produced. Hence, lots of U.S. magazines. Canadian Public Policy As our communication infrastructure improves, our
dependence on cheap U.S. cultural commodities increases. Cheap commodities because of economies of scale What we do well is communicate – but not create. But what do we communicate? Anglo Canada (especially) is at the mercy of U.S. mass
culture. Canadian Public Policy Constant question: What is our Canadian identity? The Massey Report (1951) was one of many commissions that
attempted to define and promote “us.” But geographic diversity, local private (radio, then TV)
stations made national-cultural definitions difficult. If culture were to be truly pan-Canadian, the government
would have to “build it”. Market failure? Geography? U.S.? Canadian Public Policy To overcome market failure of Canadian culture many acts
and agencies have become responsible (for example): CBC National Film Board (NFB) Telefilm Canada (Canadian Media Fund) Canada Council (for the Arts) Broadcasting & Telecommunications Acts Canadian Public Policy “Culture” created and sustained by those mechanisms attempts
to eliminate “dependency” on U.S. culture. Michel Foucault calls these “apparatuses of security.” Or
“welfare of the population.” Or, the public good. Or, in the worst case: Canadian “ISA” (Louis Althusser) Canadian Public Policy But what effect do the commissions, etc. have?
What do you watch, listen to? (Not Canadian)
But do you feel different from U.S. culture?
What is U.S. culture known for/as?
What is Canadian culture known for/as? Canadian Public Policy U.S. culture is supposedly the “melting pot” Canada known for multi-culturalism But you all watch “melting-pot” culture Is Canada’s culture, then, in jeopardy? Can it be defined, any way? Do we embrace multi-culturalism? Does Gov.? Canadian Cultural Policy “Little Mosque on the Prairie” (Saskatchewan) “Heartland?” (Alberta) “22 Minutes”? (Newfoundlanders) Rick Mercer’s “rants”? (a Newfoundlander) “Murdoch Mysteries” (Toronto-Cambridge) Canadian Public Policy We know, at least, we’re not “them” (U.S.) But who are we? First Nations, English, French, Europeans, Middle-East,
Asians, Latinos… What are we defending? We defend a “metaphysical” frontier of the state – against
external and internal threats to national security Canadian Public Policy Bernard Ostry suggested that Canadian armed forces
best represent a sense of national identity, culture &
morale. “Esprit de Corps.” What are they defending? Innis speaks of a culture without commerce (CBC?) How may that influence our view of U.S. culture? Canadian Public Policy How much has our “non-commercial” culture influenced U.S.
culture? Some Americans write to CBC, TVO. “Buffaloronto” (PBS, WEND, channel 61) represents crossborder influences – refer to Canada frequently But… many “stars” seem to go to the U.S. Why?
Name some? Canadian Public Policy What do Americans really know about
Canadian culture? Ricker Mercer’s “Talking to Americans”
Provides some interesting examples ...
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- Spring '15
- Canadian Public Policy