Can Canadian culture survive when the primary instrument of communication of the age concentrates most of its effort on the importation of the culture of another country?
It is a question worth pondering and one that should be applied to multiculturalism and its fuel, mass immigration. If American culture "impoverishes" Canadian culture then why does South Asian culture or Chinese culture, etc., enrich us?
I happen to agree that American cultural influence in Canada is a concern but it is one shared by many countries. And it shouldn't stop with the U.S.
Indian films are becoming commonplace in select theaters in major Canadian cities. Indeed, the Indian film industry, in its attempt to market its brand of mediocre film fare internationally, will hold its nomadic film awards in Toronto in 2011, the first city in North America to do so. The fact is there is no market in Canada for Indian films outside of Canada's South Asian colonies. Chinese films have tried to find a market in North America and has found little mainstream success even though Chinese films have more appeal then the characteristically silly Bollywood tripe.
American films already dominate Canadian screens and competing with American films is hard enough. Now Canadian filmmakers, thanks in whole to Canada's burgeoning Indian and Chinese colonies, have to compete with imported Indian and Chinese films for Canadian screens as well.
It doesn't stop there. Companies like Rogers and Bell, in an effort to attract subscription dollars from Canada's growing immigrant communities, offer packages that will deliver television content from non North American sources.
The CBC is of little use. If it isn't making shows about the cultural hobbies and sensibilities of its Toronto-centric producers (Little Mosque On The Prairie), its making shows about themselves or their friends (Sophie, Being Erica). In other words shows no one wants to watch.
The truth is given the choice Canadians will choose American culture over multiculturalism any day. It's because American culture is so a part of Canada. It's a part of Canadians' daily lives. We see it when we turn on the T.V., when we listen to the radio, when we wear their clothes. That's just how it is because we are so much like them (or if you wish we are so like each other). There are differences but there are many similarities and there's nothing terribly wrong with that. We should be cautious (and suspicious at times) when dealing with the U.S. (NAFTA was a mistake for one thing and we should get out of it) but the United States is a great country and the American people are wonderful. There is a lot we can learn from them but likewise there is much they can learn from us.
We may feel slighted that we know more about the United States and its people than they do about us. And that we, as the people who know the Americans best are given little thought by them we too have to consider that we, as Canadians, give little thought of anyone, anywhere outside of North America north of the Rio Grande. Quick, who is the current president of Mexico (yes Mexico does have a president)?
Multiculturalism on the other hand is completely irrelevant for the majority Canadians. It means nothing to them. They simply don't care about it because it is not present in their daily lives. They may eat at an ethnic themed restaurant every now and then but those are simply cultural indulgences where the cultural habit is the generic act of going out to eat. They may see a sari here or there, a turban or a hijab, but the most they will do is acknowledge that a people and a culture not of North American origin (and thus not North American) resides within the borders of their nation. If anything multiculturalism is viewed as a rejection of Canadian culture and thus an insult.
So, if the survival of a Canadian culture, a unique Canadian voice, is desperate against American cultural influences then how is it to be heard in a multicultural society? To me it's the same thing. If American culture is impoverishing then so is multiculturalism. Both doom Canada to a state of cultural mediocrity.