August 13, 2019 2 months 3 days ago

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: New data supports need for new Cancon support

I READ MAUREEN PARKER’s excellent Commentary “Revamped cultural policy needs facts, recent data” and her critique of Michael Geist’s Globe and Mail article.

In response to Maureen's request in the title, here is more recent data from the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office’s spring, 2019, data run. These numbers are more recent than the last profile which took its data from CAVCO’s fall, 2018 run.

We learn that over the last six years, from 2012-13 to 2017-18, service production in Canada has grown by 234% from $1.458 billion to $4.873 billion (PSTC tax credit in current dollars). Meanwhile, during the same years, Canadian content has grown by 5% from $2.316 billion to $2.430 billion (CPTC tax credit in current dollars).

Clearly Canadian policies, such as the controversial PCH-Netflix deal, as well as the impact of the digital revolution (increasing American production funding and undermining Canadian content funding), are changing the Canadian industry.

Six years ago, foreign service production was 63% of Canadian content. In 2017-18, foreign service production is now double Canadian content. Meanwhile, Canadian content is not growing, and is being squeezed out in the competition for production funding and resources. We are no longer primarily making Cancon. We have become a branch plant.

Contrary to the thesis of Michael Geist, the difference between Canadian content and foreign content in Canada matters. We need to see ourselves. We need to know who we are, not who someone else is.

Our industrial policy has succeeded and our cultural policy has failed. This is not a coincidence. American service production, funded to a great degree from Canadian market tax free revenues, is taking over our industry. Canadian content is in growing danger if our failed cultural policies are not changed.

Kirwan Cox
Executive Director
Quebec English-language Production Council