September 30th, 2008

Bruce, Caroline

The Americanization of Canada: LJ Idol, Week 2

I'm supposed to care about this. As a patriotic Canadian, I'm supposed
to care. That's what the CBC [Canadian
Broadcasting Corperation] would have me think, that's what the CRTC [Canadian Radio-Television and
Telecommunications Commission] would have me think, that's what those
branches of government dealing with the arts and heritage and so on
would have me think. So I should care, at least according to
them, but I don't.

It's true: Canadian culture, such as it is, is very heavily influenced
by our neighbors to the south. Much of our television, sports, music,
literature, and other cultural components do come from the States. Much
of the merchandise we buy is American merchandise. Many of the
businesses in this country are owned by American companies. But is this
necessarily the horrible thing that the so-called cultural experts make
it out to be? I submit that it is not.

Despite the best efforts of governments to portray us otherwise, we are
not a society of people who sit around all day reading Margaret Atwood,
listen to classical music and watch documentaries about the history of
the Artic all day. A true culture is not created, a true culture simply
is. Culture reflects the people, our culture is the sum of all its

Canada prides itself on being multicultural in its makeup. We are proud
of our Native roots; of our British roots; of our French roots; not to
mention all the contributions by the many, many people who make up this
country who trace their roots to every country on every continent. One
of these countries happens to be the most powerful country on the
planet, our best friend and closest neighbor, the United States. Given
the powerfulness of the United States and our proximity to it, it's only
natural that their culture will have a profound influence on ours. You
can't wipe that out with legislation, nor should you. Culture needs to
define itself according to its people. It should not be defined based on
what a few stuffed shirts in Ottawa want it to be. We will never be a
country of Beethoven-listening philosophers, and it's as simple as that.

So there you have it. I'm told I should care about the
Americanization of Canada ... Even by some Americans, I might add ...
But I don't. If it's part of who we are, let it be. I'm a very loyal,
patriotic Canadian, but I'm also proud to have the United States of
America as our closest neighbor and best friend. It's a minority of
Canadians who disagree with me on this, I like to think. Someday, maybe,
we can convince the stuffed shirts in Ottawa that they work for us, not
vice versa.