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Opinion

The Cancon conundrum: why policies to promote ‘Canadian stories’ need an overhaul

By Michael Geist      

By failing to grapple with the definition of Canadian content, the panel avoids coming to terms with the not-so-secret reality that it's often indistinguishable from foreign location and service production.

In releasing the panel's report, chair Janet Yale says the recommended measures are needed so Canada can 'continue to assert its cultural sovereignty and Canadians can continue to express their identity and culture through content.' The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Cultural policy in Canada can be contentious, but there is one issue—support for Canadian content or Cancon—that unsurprisingly enjoys near unanimous backing. Given the economic benefits, federal and provincial policies encourage both domestic and foreign film and television production in Canada, but there is a special place for certified Canadian content, which is typically defended on the basis of the need to support cultural sovereignty by promoting “Canadian stories.”

Michael Geist

Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.
- mgeist@uottawa.ca


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