Music Industry

Are you paying attention to the NAFTA talks? As a music fan, you should be–and here’s why

For reasons that no one understands, Donald Trump has it out for Canada when it comes to the NAFTA negotiations. He really does seem to have a personal thing against Justin Trudeau in his I-win-you-lose approach to trade.

This is not the place to go into the lies and ludicrous misinformation about dairy trade (the US actually has a dairy trade SURPLUS with Canada!) Without Chapter 19 dispute resolution, Canada risked being steamrolled by an economy that’s ten times larger than ours. And the idea of an import tax on autos is one of the dumbest things industry people on both sides of the border have ever seen.

But I do want to draw your attention to something that should be another red line in these negotiations: exemptions for measures that protect Canadian culture.

You may have never given this a thought before, but we have built walls to prevent Canada from becoming a Kardashian nation. This includes:

  • Cancon rules for radio and television. Imagine if there were no more rules regulating the amount of domestic content on radio and TV. Everything we consumed would probably be increasingly Americanized. And how many Canadian workers would be thrown out of work? (Hint: The Globe and Mail says 650,000 people work in these industries..)
  • Foreign ownership rules for media companies and telecoms. Imagine if American networks came up here and bought Canadian radio and TV stations. What would happen, say, if Fox bought into CTV?
  • Do we want a nation without an independent domestic book and magazine publishing industry? I think not.
  • Would you want your ISP controlled by an American entity?
  • What would happen to Francophone culture in Quebec and other provinces?
  • How about removing all the tax advantages and subsidies that make Canadian productions (TV, movie, music) viable
  • Could something like FACTOR and Starmaker be jeopardized? Maybe.

I know it’s easy to be distracted by a million other things in today’s world, but we as music fans need to keep a close eye on the cultural issues being discussed in the NAFTA talks.

Read this article in the Toronto Star. It’ll help you get up to speed on the issues.



Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38025 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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