Steve Patterson
What the H.e.l.l. Is Wrong with the C.r.t.c.? (an Open Letter to Minister Of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly)

What the H.e.l.l. Is Wrong with the C.r.t.c.? (an Open Letter to Minister Of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly)

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.

Yours truly,

Steve Patterson

Proud Canadian comedian/Professional Canadian content creator/Letter writer guy.


  • Having met plenty of Canadian comedians I have seen tonnes of talented and hilarious people that can’t make it on to Canadian television, but to think the CRTC has made it even harder for genuine original Canadian creators who struggle in Canadian comedy because they don’t stroke the small town/Multicultural national narrative infuriates me to no end. Fix this.

  • We have the talent in every field needed to create good – nay, great Canadian television. We’ve done it with Corner Gas and some of our films based on life on the Prairies, etc.
    Radio CBC did wonderful radio plays of Robertson Davies, and several series on composers.
    Why on earth would we reduce opportunities for Canadian artits, writers, artists and technicians at this time? Give our productions the same incentives we offer foreigners to use Canadian companies and talent.

  • Well said Steve ! Btw, Im a big fan of The Debaters.

    Since I am french, I would just like to add ; FOQUE le CRTC !!!

  • Well said. It’s hard enough to navigate Canadian waters in the leaky canoe called the crtc, without them trying to overlay American false equivalencies on us. But we shoot ourselves in the foot and turn to US programming for ‘entertainment’ (myself excepted). We need to talk to each other and explain that we are, in fact, significantly different from our neighbours.

  • Canadian talent keeps getting herded into a smaller and smaller pen. Something extraorinariy and revolutionary could happen if the thinking around Candian talent shifted in the opposite direction. If someone cracked the gate. Even just slightly. Instead of continuing to put practices in place that seem to be set up to tell us we’re not good enough to be let out of the pen. That’s why everyone jumps the fence as soon as there’s an opportunity right?

  • I am distressed. The CRTC under the former government looked like a dragon-slayer out to behead any and all interesting programming from happening at the CBC. Now it appears that the Liberal CRTC is as irresponsible and influenced by blind allegiance.
    When I am distressed I like to turn to the CBC for my daily dose of sensible radio programming. The television thing does not really work for me but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be an outlet for up and coming artists to explore genres, themes and social issues with sitcoms, shows and 10 part series that might throw some light on our unique differences as Canadians.
    I am distressed and when that happens a cup of the Debaters is in order.
    SO Steve keep up the good fight. Not the American good fight but the Canadian equivalent which is somewhere in-between observing the presence of our underground military soldiers in World War II as carried by the CBC on television or applauding the conservationists and grass-roots environmentalists who vouch for the presence of beaver in transforming and reviving landscapes carried on television and in print by the CBC. Only on CBC would you be able to watch as things unfold in our crazy world. Could it be better? Well if there were sufficient funding to carry the torch, then everything might be possible.
    This was not intended to be long winded but how could this be a Canadian comment without some pause for discussion.

  • Well thought out and well said. As a Canadian actor, I know very well that Canadian talent (including outstanding comedians) deserve CRTC support not cut-backs to funding and Canadian content rules. The arts adds millions of dollars to the country’s economy. Help us, don’t hinder us.

  • Totally agree. It’s time for our politicians to stand up for Canadian artists of every discipline. Without art, there is no society. We need our own art to help define who we are.
    Schitt’s Creek and Kim’s Convenience are great examples of Canadian humour. And our CBC radio is the best. The quality programs on CBC Radio are interesting and incredibly informative and educational.
    Keep Canada Canadian!!