Geog 2000, Week 1 Exercise 1
To what extent do you think the U.S.-Canadian magazine dispute was motivated by genuine desires to protect Canadian culture?
The U.S- Canadian magazine dispute was motivated not only motivated by desires to protect the Canadian culture but also to protect the income gained from selling the magazine. Apart from disrupting traditional producers, and increasing the availability of consumer products that are foreign made, globalization is also encouraging international trade when it comes to cultural products and services such as publications. This is increasing the exposure of communities to foreign cultures. Exposure to foreign cultures brings changes to local traditions. This is what motivated the U.S-Canadian magazine dispute. By increasing the sales of foreign magazines in Canada, Canadians were afraid that the foreign culture would undermine their local culture. Supporting sales of foreign magazines in Canada would Americanize the Canadian culture. Looking at the trend where the U.S cultural products are dominating in Canada, the dispute would be inevitable as every society wished to preserve their local culture. However, apart from preserving the local culture, the U.S- Canadian magazine dispute is also motivated by the need to boost financial gains from local industry. For instance, when it comes to films, Canadian films only account for 2.1% of ticket sales in Canada while American films account for 98%. This prevents Canada from as much income as it would be selling the majority of Canadian film tickets.
To what extent do you think the government of Canada was pressured to seek to protect its market because of the financial interests of the Canadian magazine industry?
The Canadian government was pressured to seek protection of its market because of the financial interests of the Canadian magazine industry. Most of the magazines sold in Canada are foreign. For instance, today, 89% of magazines in the Canadian market are foreign. A large percentage of these magazines are from America. By having foreign magazines being sold in Canada, the foreign publishers would offer a tax deduction to the advertisers in Canada. This would enable them to attract valuable revenue from the ads, revenue that would otherwise be earned by the Canadian Magazine industry. Therefore the Canadian government had to try to save the local industry from collapsing due to this foreign pressure. The government had to protect the producers of the domestic magazines before they were forced out of the market by these foreigners. However, the government was also pressured to protect the local magazines with the interest of preserving the local culture that would be changed by the foreign influence. The Canadian government could also have been motivated by the need to earn more income from the taxes on foreign magazines. Since the larger percentage of magazines sold in Canada are from foreign nations such as the U.S, imposing a tax on them would earn the government a large income. Additionally, the Canadian government saw a great value in magazines as the magazines serve as the national press the country possesses and therefore needed protection. Therefore, the Canadian government did not only have interests in seeking protection for the financial interests of the Canadian Magazine industry but had other interests too.
Given that Canadian magazines constitute only 11 percent of magazine sales in Canada, how important is this matter to Canadian culture?
The Canadian magazines only constitute 11% of magazine sales in Canada while the remaining percentage is sold by foreign nations. Considering that the magazines constitute the only national press in Canada, this percentage is an important matter to Canadian culture. Through producing local magazines, the Canadians would be able to preserve their culture. Allowing foreign magazines to have the large control in the industry would lead to lack of control of the local culture. Therefore, there is a need for the Canadian government to control the selling of foreign magazines in Canada by raising the percentage of local magazines sold in the country. This will be helpful in preserving local culture. This will, however, be possible by having both the locals and the foreigners deciding on the way forward.
If Canadians seem to prefer buying American magazines, why should they not be allowed to “vote” with their purchasing habits?
It is true that the Canadians prefer buying American magazines over the locally produced magazines. Most of the foreign magazines contain some Canadian content. However, the magazines also contain a lot of foreign content that may not be available in local magazines. Due to globalization, the need for foreign products and services has increased. This explains why the Canadians prefer buying the foreign magazines. The Canadians recognize the importance of their unique culture, however, globalization has opened many opportunities both locally and internationally. In order to take advantage of these opportunities, it is important to understand some foreign cultures. However, this does not mean that the Canadians can be allowed to “vote” due to their purchasing habits. This is because even other countries including America have similar experiences. Globalization has brought culture influence. Other countries such as China, India among others have their people embracing American culture. American people have some of their cultures changes by other societies. Some scholars say that globalization is like Americanization. Therefore, it is impossible to allow these people to “vote” just because of their purchasing habits.
Is it fair to levy extra taxes against foreign magazines–which has the effect of forcing Canadian purchasers of foreign magazines to subsidize local publications?
It is fair to levy extra taxes against foreign magazines. However, this should not aim at forcing Canadian purchasers of foreign magazines to subsidize local publications. Levying extra taxes is good because it will help governments to acquire extra income which if used effectively will raise the living standards of the Canadians. However, this should be done in consultation with the foreign producers. This will ensure that the fee is not considered as discriminatory. If the tax becomes discriminatory, Canada will experience trade issues with other countries which it wishes to sell their products. Therefore, the tax should be fair. Instead of overtaxing foreign magazines, the government should consider publishing local magazines that incorporate foreign content that seems to attract local consumers. This will not only increase their local sales but will also help them in preserving their culture. This approach will not force local consumers to support local magazines, it will instead lure them into purchasing the local magazines. In addition, producing local magazines that touch on the content in demand will attract increased local buyers. This will reduce the demand for foreign magazines discouraging foreign producers from selling their publications in Canada.