Cultural Policy: (pre-1988)

Until the late 1950s, Canada had no self-conscious culture except at the CBC and within a few wealthy enclaves in Montreal and Toronto. From that point through 1984, culture was gradually recognized as a cheap and effective form of national defense. The result was that the Canada Council and other funding agencies were given 1/5th the funding required to be effective; Pierre Trudeau created the Foreign Investment Review Agency (FIRA) to screen foreign ownership of Canada’s cultural and industrial essentials, and a series of piecemeal measures were created to prevent takeovers of cultural industries. FIRA became the ostensible focus of the FTA’s successful dismantling of national sovereignty during the late 1980s, while cultural subsidies were ceilinged and then forced into fiscal free-fall by 1990’s budget cuts. Most of the other instruments have either been sidestepped or declared illegal by GATT and other trade bodies.

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