Friday, June 11, 2004

You've Got a Lot to See

Oh. Oh oh oh. Yes. The Conservatives are pledging to gut the CRTC. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission is the government watchdog for "Canadian Content" - that nebulous yet exalted quality that gives terrible movies, television and music special exhibition privileges for the mere sake of being produced in Canada. It's one of the last bastions of silly protectionism in an otherwise mostly-free market, and I resent the hell out of it. If Canadian productions are well-made and worthwhile, then I'll watch them. Being forced to as a means of pandering to cultural nationalists (not to mention the gravy train-slurping film industry) just makes me despise all Canadian works in general. I would love to be able to get American cable channels - Fox News and Cartoon Network first, of course. Neither would ever be approved for broadcast here under current CRTC regulations. Cartoon Network doesn't have a schedule 60% composed of awful cheaply-made Canadian dreck. Fox News would somehow be subtly shunned; I don't imagine any of the bureaucrats making the call would openly denounce it, but keep in mind this is a board that of its own accord started looking into forcing service providers to carry Al-Jazeera on basic cable. What galls me most are the statements here from industry spokesmen: "If this policy were implemented we'd be completely submerged in non-Canadian product," [Stephen Waddell, national executive director of ACTRA, the peformers' union] said. Well, yes. Boo-frickin'-hoo. I could not care less about the fate of the Canadian film and TV industry. It's an unhealthily incestuous morass of federal funding and smug spongers precisely like Mr. Waddell. Let the free market decide what's available, and let Canadians watch what they want to watch. Protectionism is only necessary for an inferior product. Surely the existence of such CRTC policies aren't a tacit admission of the inherent awfulness of Canadian content, are they?

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