Canadian Content War Games

I don’t think it’s any secret that Hollywood hates Canadian Content regulations. Hollywood (and for that matter the rest of the American content production and distribution companies) consider Canadian Content regulations an unfair intervention in the market.

For that matter the Canadian broadcasters are of two minds on the issue. It’s often less expensive for them to buy American productions, then to buy Canadian productions. It’s a numbers game. American productions sell to a larger market. That means they are cheaper. But everyone else can buy them too.

The advantage of a Canadian production is that no one else will have it. If a Canadian broadcaster buys an American production, and they are within broadcast range of the American border, they are competing against an American broadcaster.

Canadian Content War Games

The Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada has a fascinating website. I can spend hours going through the Registry of Lobbyists, and often do. Here’s a search for the word ‘motion’, asking for both active and inactive registrations.

Basic Lobbyist Search Function
Basic Lobbyist Search Function

When you click, 547 hits!

Ottawa is a town full of lobbyists. Lobbyists like Barry Sookman don’t operate in the best interests of the Canadian public, instead they operate in the best interests of the company or organization that employs them. And the best interest of the MPAA member companies is to remove Canadian Content regulations. The best interests of the American government are also to remove Canadian Content regulations. That this would destroy the Canadian video/film industry is no concern of theirs.

Lobbyists are a necessary evil. Corporations need to have representatives who can talk to politicians. The problem is that the Canadian public doesn’t have similar representation. Or rather we do, but our elected Members of Parliament often find it easier to deal with a single Lobbyist, than with 50,000 constituents.

Do We Still Need Canadian Content Regulations?

Do we still need a strong Canadian video/film industry? Yes.

My personal take is our current regulations are too weak, and that we need to strengthen our domestic video/film industry further. I’d like to see Canadian Content requirements increased by 5% per year for the next five years. I’d also like to see Reality TV and Sports programs rated at 75% CanCon instead of 100% if made in Canada. I want to see more fiction and non-fiction materials made for TV.


Wayne Borean

Thursday January 20, 2011


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