Wednesday, June 23, 2004

#10: Turn the CRTC upside down

Whether or not the government should support Canadian "culture" is a discussion I fervently hope we see under a minority government. There are pros and cons, and there are worse things the goverment can spend my tax money than grants for artists (that there are better things goes without saying, at least on this blog).

What I absolutely cannot abide, however, is that as a consumer of culture and entertainment, I am prohibited from buying certain products, namely HBO, ESPN, TNT, etc.

Imagine walking into a new Chapters store. A quarter of the floor area is devoted to Canadian books. Another quarter is devoted to American and other foreign books, all vetted by the government to ensure they do not duplicate the content found in any of the Canadian books. The remaining half of the store is completely empty.

If the CRTC regulated bookstores like they do Canadian cable and satellite TV providers, this is exactly what Chapters would look like. There is no longer any technological justification for the CRTC regulating what channels we can watch, only a culture policy that both subsidizes the creation of Canadian programming and prohibits us from watching any alternatives.

A Conservative government needs to restrict the CRTC's mandate to regulating broadcast TV and radio, where the number of channel spaces is finite. The government has no business telling me I can't subscribe to HBO if StarChoice is willing to provide it to me. And thankfully, this policy change would be a bell that could not be un-rung.

See the preamble to this list.
Go to #9.


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