“As an agricultural and industrial nation Canada ranks high in the world. But as a cultured nation exploring the human mind and soul she ranks low. She has excused herself because of the size of her population, her youth and the battle she has had to wage wresting the country from nature. Those last two excuses are valid no longer, the first one never was.” – The Massey Report 1951
In the post-war era, Canada’s increasing military and economic ties to the United States fuelled fears over continentalism – a doctrine that Canada and the U.S. should merge into one North American nation. I would argue we did when Brian Mulroney without referendum signed NAFTA and more recently Justin Trudeau, the USMCA. Both deals have submerged us deeper into a tangled web of American dominance and near total monopoly over so many aspects of our Canadian life. The most stunning – our Culture.
It does feel a lot like this rich Canadian experience is under threat and we are once again in a state of ‘anemia’. Maybe we never got over this iron deficiency as our stories are rarely reflected on the big screen or on TV. Some people will argue oh it’s our small population. Nonsense. Just take a look at Australia. They have less population and ten times the industry. And as the excerpt from the Massey Report suggests ‘those excuses are no longer valid’. Let me be clear. I’m just speaking here about English Canada. French Canada has an enviable film and TV industry and their comedians are celebrated like rock stars. Some, like Martin Matte sold more than 400,000 tickets on his last tour. He is in millionaire territory. How many English speaking comedians have that kind of draw? With no industry to support us and no arts funding to bolster us, we have no money to promote us. We remain in the shadows.