Not any more

Kate Taylor ~ Digital freedom comes with a high cost –

In Canada on September 29, 2010 at 15:15

Cultural deep thinkers have their say


We asked several leading figures in the country’s arts scene what was the one thing they would change about Canada’s cultural policies. Their responses:

Hubert Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada

I would introduce a process that, at least every decade, reviews the role that CBC/Radio-Canada should play. This process would also align our role with a multi-year financing commitment that allows us to fulfill the expectations that Canadians have of their public broadcaster.

Denise Robert, Quebec producer, co-founder and president of Cinémaginaire

Rephrase “Canadian cultural policies” as “focus on exceptional individual Canadian talents.”

Graham Henderson, President of the Canadian Recording Industry Association

Canada’s cultural industries need to be thought of as industries, not just as “the arts.” They are key economic drivers that contribute significantly to Canada’s GDP and create jobs. Government policy should reflect this. Canada’s digital future is not just about infrastructure; it is also about content. No digital economic strategy can be complete without the cultural industries at the table. This is not currently the case. And it needs to change.

Denise Donlon, executive director of CBC English Radio

Our cultural policies now exist in an international context. They need to recognize “Canada” and “Canadian” as compelling and unique identifiers in the global cultural marketplace.

Tom Perlmutter, chair of the National Film Board of Canada

All our cultural policies can trace their philosophical roots back to the Massey-Lévesque and Fowler reports of the 1950s. What they built was strong and durable and has served us well for almost 60 years. However, the nature of how we understand what a nation is has changed dramatically over the last five decades driven by demographic and technological imperatives.

What we need now is not one particular policy patchwork fix but the new Massey-Levesque for the 21st century. We need to rethink the fundamental conceptual framework that can give rise to the cultural policies that will serve us for the next 60 years.

Ian Kelso, president of Interactive Ontario and the Canadian Interactive Alliance

McLuhan said that “Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity.” Our strength is that our culture and values are a unique distillation of the best from the multicultural and transnational ethos. This is an incredibly powerful advantage in a digitally connected global economy of ideas. . .

We don’t lack for creativity in this country, but we do lack access to capital. If finance is the major barrier to building homegrown success in the digital economy, then the government is bound to intervene to ensure we don’t waste the tremendous opportunity we have to lock in our position as a global leader.

Kirstine Stewart, interim executive vice-president, CBC English Services, and general manager of CBC English Television

Our cultural policies should take into account Canadians’ pride in themselves and enable them to embrace and express that pride creatively, each in his and her own way.


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