Canadian content laws seem like a hokey, even outdated concept that only affects public television and radio programs. Sadly, poorly produced shows are the face of these laws, but the meaning of them is so much more. Beyond the production and regeneration of Canadian culture, diverse, self-contradictory and downright strange as it might be, it’s also a source of invisible revenue that means jobs for many Canadians.

Invisible because our Minister of Culture and our Minister of Industry – all of them, not just the current Rt. Hon – actually fail to account for the money created by Canadian companies. Companies who pay taxes, employ Canadians and who generate cash by making films and events we all want to enjoy. With this in mind, it is unconscionable for the Rt. Hon. James Moore to discuss any leeway for Carl Icahn, the chainsaw artist who ripped apart many a company seemingly just to see if he could, to purchase Lions Gate Films. Incorporated in British Columbia and operating out of California, Lions Gate, simply put, makes money. Lots of money. Money that goes to Canadian people and products.

In these unstable financial days, it makes no sense to allow a thriving business to be upended for one person’s personal gain. And this would be a big shakedown. Icahn was turned down on his last offer and now proposes to replace the entire board of directors with people sympathetic to him.

Lions Gate is at the moment, in a position to consider a bid on the library of MGM Inc. It is the biggest indie film and television studio in Hollywood and it’s ours. But ironically, if the company were to incorporate in the US, it would be safer from this type of hostile takeover. Company executives have already been in talks to do just that. If Canadian assets must either face being bought by hostile American ahem “entrepreneurs”, or moving to the US where there exists more legal protections against such activities, we may as well close the office of the Minister of Industry and Heritage too, while we’re at it.

It’s understood just how good some of our projects are and though much on the CBC and CTV fall short of Oscar-winning Mad Men (produced by Lions Gate), our cultural gems are far ahead of Taxicab Confessions and the Biggest Loser. We’ve got something special that deserves preservation and protection for reasons beyond mere sentimentality. Little Mosque on the Prairie might not be 24, but that’s sort of the point. We have a culture to protect, whether the business world or the Ministers in charge of it think so.

We make money for Canada. The Conference Board estimates Canada’s cultural sector generated $46-billion, or 3.8 per cent of Canada’s GDP, in 2007. And, according to the Canada Council, in 2003-2004, the sector accounted for an “estimated 600,000 jobs (roughly the same as agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, oil & gas and utilities combined).” Not only that, we make Canada for Canada. This country is ridiculously large and living life in one part of it is extremely different from living anywhere else. The diffusion of experiences, the discords, disagreements and discussions that take place around what it means to be who we are in different parts of our world is worth preserving, protecting and funding.

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