The latest figures are sobering. Canada’s culture goods trade deficit has ballooned to $2.2 billion, 63% of which is with the United States. That represents the largest culture goods deficit number since 1997 and is the fourth straight year the deficit has grown.
These numbers ought to re-emphasize the obvious — as a net importer of culture, our cultural policies, particularly our copyright policies, need not mirror those found in a major exporting country such as the United States. Our policy makers should be focusing on new ways to encourage the development of Canadian culture at home and its promotion abroad. The Internet and new technologies provide an exceptional opportunity to do just that, yet we seem to focus primarily how best to import both U.S. culture and U.S. copyright law. Not only is that bad public policy, but it is a guaranteed way to ensure that next year’s Statscan numbers show more of the same.