CANADA'S CULTURAL INDUSTRIES: BROADCASTING, PUBLISHING, RECORDS AND FILM
Volume 11 Number 4.
Cultural industries in Canada, broadcasting, publishing, record and film production, are a big chunk of the GNP, $7 million, and they directly employed seventy thousand in 1980, up thirty per cent from 1970. Yet, in book publishing, magazine distribution, record production and distribution, and film and television distribution, Canadian-controlled companies are marginal, despite the fact that they create the vast majority of Canadian cultural products.
Canada not only opens the door to foreign cultural products, it subsidizes them. An American-owned magazine printed in Canada without a shred of Canadian content receives the same exemption from federal sales tax as does Saturday Night, And it is charged 25.4 cents a copy by Canada Post, roughly half of what it would cost to mail it from the United States. In one year alone, the subsidy of postal rates for foreign book clubs, magazines, direct mail companies, and book wholesalers amounted to an estimated $75 million. Canada has an incentive program for book publishing. However, to qualify, publishers need not publish Canadian books. They can simply reprint foreign titles or adapt foreign texts. We subsidize Canadian film makers and then leave them to a distribution network controlled by foreign-owned firms that are not interested in Canadian products. And in Canada in 1979, urban families spent nearly $40 on films, more than twice what they spent on tickets to spectator sports.
Except for the CBC, Audley does not recommend increased federal expenditures. He proposes an overhaul of the present system of subsidies and tax exemptions to ensure that the beneficiaries are Canadian. He is both a nationalist and a realist. He does not want to shut out foreign material, just stop sabotaging our own. He also wants some hard business sense brought to bear on developing strategies that will genuinely help our cultural industries.
In an information age, our economic, social, and political destinies are linked to cultural products. What we do with them will help to determine our futures in many other domains. For this reason, Canada's Cultural Industries is an important book and a useful companion to the Report of the Federal Cultural Policy Review Committee. *
*Reviewed vol. XI/3 May 1983 p.101.
Adele Ashby, Toronto, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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