Dear Minister Joly,
I just learned of the CRTC decision to reduce the amount of spending on content categorized as PNI (programs of national interest) to just 5% while re-issuing broadcast licenses to Bell, Rogers and Corus. This on the heels of a recent decision to limit the number of Canadians working on programs down to somewhere near the level of “the American craft services person should, if possible, have a distant Canadian cousin.”
These decisions, I realize, don’t mean much to the average Canadian. Because Canadians gorge themselves on the entertainment of our southern cousins, including devouring every minute of that show about a maniacal President who will stop at nothing for his own personal gain. And “House of Cards” isn’t bad either.
But as a Canadian content creator who already faces the stigma of being a comedian in a country that refuses to recognize comedy as a major performing art despite it being one of our strongest artistic strengths (that’s a whole other letter) I must tell you, this is a real kick in the beavertail.
As far as I know, The CRTC was put in place to promote and protect Canadian programming. To help ensure that broadcasters do indeed broadcast the work of this country across our country and into others.
By minimizing the amount of Canadians creating programming in Canada they seem to be doing, well, the exact opposite of their raison d’etre. (I hope I used this term correctly. I took French class in Ontario in the 1980’s. I apologize if I just called the CRTC a raisin.)
Now I can hear other Canadians who I’ve invited to read this saying “Good! Canadian programming sucks!” And to an extent, I don’t blame them for saying that. We’ve all seen Canadian shows that are downright awful. While others seem to tell the same old stories we’ve all heard already and have absolutely no interest in hearing or seeing ever again (surely there’s another little girl out there with a story to tell other than Anne and her damn green gables!)
But we also have many extremely talented people in Canada; writers, actors, directors and yes even us COMEDIANS who deserve a fair shot at having our work developed. People that want to live and work in Canada because…well, frankly, would YOU want to live in the United States right now?
The CRTC may think they are creating an open market of competition with these decisions, which seems to be reflected in their belief that this latest reduction in funding ensures “stable funding for Canadian production in all program categories”. But that makes as much sense as a Sean Spicer press conference ensures “reasonable, informative, well-spoken answers.” Sure it’s entertaining. But we’ve got lots of talent here that is more entertaining and funny ON PURPOSE.
By granting broadcasters license to essentially ignore Canadian creative talent the CRTC is limiting an industry with the potential to be among the best in the world to one where the best and brightest are forced to flee instead of using those talents in the place they should be most appreciated.
I know you’re working on this Minister Joly. I know it’s far from easy. I’m just asking you, as a Canadian in an industry that deserves a better champion, can you be the one to actually help with this? Because with these latest developments, it sure as the French word for “seal” isn’t the CRTC.
Proud Canadian comedian/Professional Canadian content creator/Letter writer guy.