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Saturday, August 29, 2009

[CANADIAN POLITICS] I sent in my submission about the Canada Media Fund. It reads:
I'm a professional television and feature writer. I co-wrote BON COP / BAD COP, which broke the all-time Canadian box office record for a Canadian movie. I also co-created the television series NAKED JOSH, which ran for three years on Showcase.

Cancon is important to me. It's clear that the Canadian networks don't take Cancon seriously, and would be happy to show nothing but American television series. If the Cancon requirements are reduced, my job will disappear.

It's happened before. When the drama requirements were diluted to allow lifestyle series to qualify as "Canadian drama" in 1999, Canadian drama series on the air dropped immediately from 12 to 2.

It's been proposed to allow American writers and American showrunners to work on Canadian shows funded by the CMF. If Cancon is to mean anything at all, we can't allow that. American writers are not going to tell Canadian stories. They are going to turn our shows into carbon copies of American shows, set in Generica -- that bland, featureless North American landscape that has no aspects of Canadian society in it, but could theoretically be somewhere in Canada.

Cancon is important to everyone in Canada. A country with no sense of itself falls apart. In Canada, falling apart is a real threat. We nearly lost Quebec several times. There are lots of Newfoundlanders who consider their nationality to be "Newfie," not "Canuck." Stories are what bind us to each other and give us a sense of ourself as a nation. Whether they're serious dramas like "Zone of Separation" or goofy comedies like "Corner Gas," watching ourselves on TV is one of the things that makes us Canadians, and not just "not-Americans."

Cancon is important to our place in the world. When Americans think about Canada, if they haven't seen any of our movies or TV shows, they think of us as polite white people who are brave about the winter. They're not really aware of how our society is different. Just look at the spectacle of the Republicans trying to scare Americans away from single payer health care by claiming our health care system is worse, when in fact, it's better. They're not aware that we have lots of New Canadians, that our cities are tolerant and multicultural, that we resolves the whole gay marriage thing without a fuss a few years ago ... they don't know us.

When they see our shows, they get a sense of who we are, whether it's "Corner Gas" or "Degrassi" or "Naked Josh" or "Flashpoint" -- the show about snipers where the snipers try not to shoot people.

Americans take Britain seriously because they know who the British are. If they don't take Canada as seriously, it's partly because we've spent too much money on CSI and "Law & Order," and not enough creating our own popular culture.

Our TV and movies create who we are. Let's not sell them out just because our broadcasters think they can make a few more bucks.

Thank you.

Alex Epstein
Actually, Canadians whine constantly about the winter.

You can send in your own submission at




By Blogger jimhenshaw, at 7:49 PM  

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