September 29, 2011
The Public Sphere in Canada
Arthur Siegel (1996)
Politics and the Media in Canada
•Four “problems” for mass communication in Canada
2. population distribution
3. proximity to the United States
•Canada is the second largest country on earth, encompasses 10% of the
•Most lakes of any country on earth - hard to cross
•Most of the landmass is frozen
•Would Canada exist at all without the existence of modern technology?
•Link between territory, power, and communications was first discovered by
Harold Innis. E.g. telegram and printing press.
•The railway across Canada kept connection/communication alive.
•A telegraph system was put in the constitution as well.
•Technological Determinism : Theory that technology is the guiding force
behind all human behaviour. Mary Vipond refers to this as the
•It is not the technology that keeps us together, but it is our desire or goal to
be together that drives communication. Technology is a tool to facilitate
2. Population Distribution
•34.6 million people in Canada
•40% is in Ontario, 24% Quebec, 13% BC, 10% Alberta (totals 87% of
•35th in the world for population
•Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Ottawa-Hull’s population account for
38% of Canada.
•Canadian Archipelago - we have settlements that cluster around certain
cities in the country, somewhat like a series of islands.
•Economy of Scale : the saving in cost of production that is due to mass
•Generally, the more you produce and sell, the lower the per unit cost
•Mass produced goods are relatively cheap
•Custom-made goods are relatively expensive.
•Therefore, a densely populated area can expect the cost of things to be