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The Case For Cultural Subsidies To Sell 'Diversity'

TPP Preamble

The Parties to TPP acknowledge the importance of cultural diversity in the preamble, but they do so with a significant corollary:

“Recognise the importance of cultural identity and diversity among and within the Parties, and that trade and investment can expand opportunities to enrich cultural identity and diversity at home and abroad; ”The assertion that trade and investment “can expand opportunities” is on the whole simply incorrect.

History teaches us that, where it is left unregulated, trade and investment bring cultural homogenization, where the few dominant cultures overwhelm smaller cultures, and not cultural diversity.

The case study for this failure is the Canadian feature film industry. Despite the world-class talent pool, with Canadian performers, writers, directors, and others achieving global success in Hollywood, and the tremendous international acclaim of our filmmakers, Canadian English-language movies struggle to achieve even a two percent market share in Canadian cinemas. This is because Canada does not have content quotas in our movie theatres, and the film distribution and exhibition sectors are largely unregulated.

Meanwhile, this same talent pool creates popular television programs that draw large audiences, because they have been able to grow and develop with the support of content rules and other broadcasting regulations….

--- Taken from ACTRA submission to the Standing Committee on International Trade recommending it reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement because it will restrict Canada’s right to implement the full range of cultural policies Canadians need