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COMM 1101 (114)

Lecture 5: Culture, Media, and Digital Policy in Canada

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Carleton University
Communication Studies
COMM 1101
Chris Russill

Lecture 5: Cultural Policy  Cultural policy is the expression a government’s willingness to adopt and implement a set of coherent objectives and means to protect and foster its country’s cultural expression. The arts are the very foundation of this expression. In an age when countries are becoming increasingly interdependent economically and politically, promoting cultural expression by means of a coherent cultural policy. For the arts is a valuable way to emphasize and define what distinguishes one country from another. Why Do We Have Cultural Policy?  Tourism industry?  Culture is a product; something we need to invest, strong part of the “new economy”  Focussing on our global image, as we think about who we are, but also how countries see us  National identity; build nation, hold Canada together, preserve identity  Art for art’s sake o Patronage: finding a man/woman to support you financially in order to write your book/poem, etc.  Build markets, advance industrial policy in cultural realm  We are either seeing the quick drift of cultural policy away from its role in affirming identity, building multicultural society, and so on, toward a role in facilitating economic growth OR, and this is the thing I’m personally more skeptical of, we are seeing that being Canada is a market advantage, and that the world really needs more Canada, and so the constitution of ourselves through cultural material has the nice consequence of making our culture and creative industries more globally competitive. The Problem: What Does it Mean to Be Canadian?  Multiculturalism is a form of diversity; failed project or not? o In contrast to the melting pot (USA)  Universal health care  “Bleeding hearts”  War history – e.g. Juno beach  Vocabulary/dialect/linguistic patterns – eh?  “Joe Canadian,” Terry Fox, Don Cherry, etc.  Not American – define with a negative  Place dedicated to creating Canadian content How Has Cultural Policy Been Enacted?  Radio, TV, film, books, magazines, convergence policy Radio/TV  First “National” network: CNR radio, on trains for travel o Tourism business o Railways owned hotels where trains would take people o Meant to facilitate business of moving people across country  Aird Commission/Broadcast Act (public utility not private corporation for broadcasting)  CRBC/CBC  Canadian Quota Systems in Broadcast Acts (1958) o Stations run to make profit, competition o Almost everything they had to show/say had to be Canadian o But, American culture was going to overpower ours; ability to produce media with more money and technical value would trump ours Recorded Music Industry  Universal, Sony, EM, Warner dominate the industry  Quota rules on “spins”: 30-35% generally on radio  MAPL (music, artist, production, lyrics) done by Canadians  Wider listenership than film (generally 20%+ compared to 3-5% for film nationally)  Canadian recording companies account for most of Canadian recording sales, and launch most Canadian artists  “Vicious circle” – once Canadians become popular with music, they sign with multinational record labels and go to live in the USA Film  Earliest film used to promote immigration to prairies, 1900-1914  WW1 AND WW2 propaganda films  National Film Board (1939) o Propaganda agency o Deal with the dominance of Hollywood o “To produce, distribute, and promote the production and distribution of films designed to interpret Canada to Canadians and other nations.” o Tax Hollywood film; protect our industry by making Hollywood movies more expensive to watch o Hollywood refused, Canada gave in eventually Dominance of Hollywood  First World War 2 plan to “tax” US films in order to protect an emerging Canadian film market  Canadian Cooperation Project deal (1947-1951) o Free trade in film (no tax on US films) o Hollywood promised to “mention” Canada in films and suggested that tourism would boom in Canada as a result o Films shot on studios or in Southern California o Escaping convicts would flee to Canada rather than another US city so that Canada was included in films o Hollywood stars would talk nice about Canada on radio o Canadian government official located in Hollywood Implicati
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