Is Canadian Culture Doomed to Become American?
As Alvin Toffler once said, “The wider any culture is spread, the thinner it gets”1. Such holds true for the American culture, which is not only a dominating factor in its own internal market and known domestically but also a dictating force in countries around the world on the global scale, and the first on their list – Canada. This issue of cultural imperialism is touched upon by Gaëtan Tremblay in his article, “Is Quebec Culture Doomed to Become American?”
Although Tremblay talks about the American culture’s influence on Canada as a whole, his main concern in this article is Quebec, which is in a separate league than the rest of Canada due to its different linguistics. Tremblay focuses on Quebec culture and raises many significant issues that should be noticed. He mentions that due to their similarity in language, Canadian television is “much more exposed to American influences”2. Therefore, the Quebecois feel rather alienated in terms of their distinct culture and “like Canadians, want to keep their protective policies and regulations concerning the promotion of their cultural identity”3. His opinion about American culture is rather clear and his main point is that although there are many Canadian based organizations that are formed for the promotion and protection of Canadian culture such as the Broadcasting Act adopted by the Parliament in 1991 and the Canadian Radio-Television and telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Canadians should further endorse themselves in increasing Canadian cultural production not only in Canada itself, but in the global market as well. As American culture becomes more and more powerful and influential, the Quebec culture and identity is at stake and being jeopardized. Tremblay mentions that the “fear of American culture”4, is a recurring issue for the Canadians, particularly the Quebecois. They feel as if there is “a real threat of cultural invasion”5 from the American culture.
Tremblay uses some significant points to establish his argument and prove his position and opinion. The first issue he raises is the presence of American programs on Quebec television, where he mentions that about one third of the total television supply is of foreign origin mainly American, which is not so bad but he does reveal that the presence of foreign products is much higher in Canada compared to the United States. He also states that during the evenings, between six o’clock and midnight, the situation is even better because “the proportion of Canadian content attains 73%”6. He mentions that the French-language television stations for the most part, respect the “Commission’s regulatory quota fixing a 60% minimum for Canadian content during prime time”7. The part that Canadians should be concerned with is the area of entertainment, particularly drama programming such as series, films and cartoons. He indicates that the percentage of drama programming broadcast produced...