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Letter: Canadian content rules just encourage poor quality

If it is good, people will consume it. If it is not, they won’t

Canadian content rules just encourage poor quality

Re: “We must preserve, increase Canadian content” (July 30)

Does the letter-writer think that the United States has rules governing the proportion of nationally produced content in the manner that Canada does? No, no it does not. I can’t name any other countries off the top of my head that have such rules.

“Canadian content” is actually a hindrance to the creation of quality Canadian media and has been for decades. It forced some channels to rerun TV shows long past their cancellation date for “Canadian content”, which was alright in decades past if you love cult classics like The Littlest Hobo and The Beachcombers, but if those aren’t your cup of tea, not so much. Very poorly constructed/written TV shows are thrown on the air for the sake of Canadian content (such as Johnny Test and Caillou). Canadian content that is good (The Red Green Show, Murdoch Mysteries) don’t need these regulations in order to exist. If the rules encourage the mass production of poor broadcast fare to the detriment of quality — and they most certainly do — there is a problem.

Forcing “Canadian content” on unwilling viewers is not actually a good thing. You can’t just regulate people into watching what you think they should watch all because “muh, Canadian stories”. If it is good, people will consume it. If it is not, they won’t. It’s as simple as that. “Canadian content” rules don’t apply in other countries, so strengthening these rules won’t help the spread of Canadian media elsewhere. Consumers vote with their eyeballs, ears, and wallets about what it is they will choose to consume. If they’re choosing specifically not to consume Canadian news, for instance, that’s not a thing that Canadian content regulations can fix. That’s a thing that Canadian news broadcasters have to fix; and honestly ask themselves what it is they have to fix, and why.

If you need validation as a Canadian by the existence of “Canadian content” rules, that sounds like a ‘you’ problem, not a regulatory issue to burden the rest of us with.

April J. Gibson

Duncan

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