Canadian torture

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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am

Aaron at Free Will exposes some appalling reporting from the New York Times on the matter of a Canadian Gitmo resident. Speaking of Canada, here’s John Leo:

Radio stations must play Canadian music at least 35 percent of the time. Strict rules determine what music is Canadian enough to fill the quota. Though Celine Dion is Canadian, her hit “My Heart Will Go On” was insufficiently Canadian, since the lyricist, the songwriter, and the recording were non-Canadian. As a result, thoroughly Canadian pop music stays on radio long enough to drive many Canadians to distraction, drink, and even Canadian football.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/13/2005 at 12:10 AM
    1. I used to get a cable music station here in the States called MuchMusic. It was apparently the Canadian answer to MTV so naturally they were bound by similar rules. Their answer was to play Sum 41 and Our Lady Peace about 100 times a day (those being the only two Canadian pop bands in existence at the time). Needless to say, it got real old real quick.

      Posted by Richard on 02/13 at 12:45 AM • #


    1. Around 1980, the “Canadian Content” rule spawned one of the funniest recurring skits on the classic Canadian comedy program, Second City Television (SCTV).

      The joke was two brothers, Bob and Doug MacKenzie, who hosted a TV program titled “Great White North” and discussed back bacon, donuts, beer, and ice hockey while wearing parkas and ‘toques’ (ski hats). They referred to each other as ‘hoser’ and peppered their conversation with “Eh?” as in “Take off, ya hoser, eh?”

      It was certainly not the image of Canada that Parliament had intended to foster and strengthen for export.

      The skit spawned the hit single “Take Off!” featuring Geddy Lee of the Canadian band Rush as well as a successful comedy album and a very underrated film called “Strange Brew” with Max Von Sydow (!!!) as an evil scientist. I’ve seen that movie probably twenty times and there are scenes that always make me laugh.

      The idea of such a law is odious and reeks of cheap nationalism but I’m glad it gave us Yankees the MacKenzie brothers.

      Posted by JDB on 02/13 at 01:13 AM • #


    1. Strange Brew was awesome.  We tried very hard to get our English teacher to show it to us in place of Hamlet back in High School, since, basically, it’s Hamlet but better.

      Steamroller, eh?

      Posted by Sortelli on 02/13 at 01:24 AM • #


    1. The cable company in my area has replaced MuchMusic with something called “Fuse,” which shows Slipknot and Green Day videos back to back, and on weekends has a show called “Slave to the Metal” featuring a faux dominatrix who gives advice to callers such as the importance of lotioning your thighs (or having your boyfriend spit on them) before you dance on the stripper pole. You know, to prevent chafing.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 02/13 at 01:43 AM • #


    1. Andrea,

      The missus and I were just watching “Slave…” a couple of weekends ago because they showed Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized” as we were flipping around. (Great memories of a misspent youth there.)

      Afterward, the Dom was telling some teenager that their school has ‘no right’ to tell them not to wear an offensive t-shirt to class. I turned to the wife and said, “I sense an impending three day suspension if this kid goes to the principal with this Great Constitutional Scholar’s argument.”

      Not only is the Dom dumb but she’s not even that attractive and I’m a sucker for a leather bustier, fishnets, and spike heels.

      Posted by JDB on 02/13 at 01:58 AM • #


    1. Where do these mutants get their brains from? Ans: Nowhere.

      Now even music is not Universal, but correctly apportioned according to “cultural selves”?  When could this possibly end? Subcellularly?

      What’s that one about God giving dominion of the World to humans, apparently thwarting the Devil, who then remarks gleefully: “Now let’s see them organize it.”

      Fortuneately music remains free to resist.

      For example, let’s see them categorize the Queen of Country Music, Tammy Wynette, singing Country-like, about going to Mu Mu Land, a voyage to the bottom of time, with the tribes of The Jams rapping along with her, travelling the land in an ice-cream van. The Jams might be Haitian Voo Doo, African, or possibly even Australian.

      “They’re justified and ancient”, and Tammy “stands by The Jams” as they go “fishing in the rivers of life. Hoi, Shika See Voolie.”

      Posted by J. Peden on 02/13 at 02:35 AM • #


    1. There’s lots of good Canadian music : Jan Arden, Claire Pelletier, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, the Dixie Chicks

      Posted by rhhardin on 02/13 at 02:41 AM • #


    1. I like to think about the dweeb sitting in a closet somewhere whose job it is to research the various production elements of a recording and calculate the Canadian-ness of every single release.

      1.  The Kids in the Hall would have killed with this.

      2.  I want to hear Colby Cosh on this.

      Posted by Sluggo on 02/13 at 03:49 AM • #


    1. In terms of Canadian music, Rush is the definitive.

      If you want a musical nightmare, though, you should be warned that Queen is preparing a reunion tour… with the singer from “Bad Company”. That’s just not right.

      Posted by Aaron – Freewill on 02/13 at 03:59 AM • #


    1. I grew up near Bellingham, Washington.  We could pick up many Canadian FM stations there, and they were just plain better than what we had in that part of the USA.  CFUN, for example, out of Vancouver, was an excellent rock station, and was lots of fun to listen to.  Even the classical music stations (which I learned to enjoy only later in life) were a hoot.

      Back then (in the early 1970s), Canada was not a socialist state.  This silly 35% rule demonstrates how far down into the abyss Canada has slid.  I agree, Canadian radio stations must be incredibly boring and banal, and I pity those Canadians who don’t live close enough to the 49th parallel to pick up US commercial FM radio stations.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 02/13 at 04:39 AM • #


    1. While tempting as it may be to pay out on the canucks, unlike us poor saps in OZ the buggers have access to the itunes music store.  Our music buying experience is still stuck in the 20th century plus a few mediocre try hards like bigpondmusic.
      (unless of course, the same stifling rules apply to music stores in canada!)

      Posted by entropy on 02/13 at 06:00 AM • #


    1. Canadian Radio station’s must be awful, non stop Celine Dion and Alanis Morrissette! Its ridiculous enough when somewhere like France does this but for a country which is so clearly made up of British, French and American influences it is absurd.

      Is this rule universal, if you wanted to run a Classical music station in Canada would you have to play Mozart, Beethoven and Bob from Ottawa?

      Posted by Ross on 02/13 at 06:37 AM • #


    1. I’m wondering when the gray-ponytailed, Volvo-driving American leftists arrive en masse to Canada if the radio culture will change. Will the new arrivals want Canada to respect their diversity or will Canada just pick up live feeds from Pacific radio and National Public radio?

      Posted by bc on 02/13 at 08:24 AM • #


    1. JDB:  In 1982, the NFL players went on strike, and NBC began showing CFL games as substitute programming.  This led to the Best SCTV Episode Ever, in which SCTV went on strike and the network ran “CBC” as substitute programming.  It included such gems as Part #32 of the hard-hitting Canadian Footwear documentary series, and PSAs from the “Canadian Fact Ministry” which ended with the tagline “It’s a Canadian fact!”

      Posted by Baby M on 02/13 at 08:48 AM • #


    1. This policy has been in place for over 30 years . I hope my fellow canucks are getting sick of the nannystatism that so pervades every aspect of their lives but I doubt it.

      Posted by ken the ex-canuck on 02/13 at 09:58 AM • #


    1. Also , I’m not going to get into an arguement
      about Canadian rules football , but with a larger field it opens up play a bit which allows for more yardage per play , so hence the reason for 3 downs. It also was being developed about the same time as American football(also a great game),late 19th century.
      I will grant you the talent level is not on par with the NFL but none the less most of the stars go on to play in the US.( Warren Moon, Jeff Garcia etc.)
      Iam a great defender of all things Canadian but that does not mean I have to accept the death of a thousand cuts that incrementalizing socialism brings you.
      Long live Don Cherry!!

      Posted by ken the ex-canuck on 02/13 at 10:15 AM • #


    1. [b]Don Cherry for PM

      Posted by ken the ex-canuck on 02/13 at 10:18 AM • #


    1. Ken, all I can say is the stations in BC gleefully ignored that law way back then, ‘cuz all I recall hearing were US bands.

      OTOH, it was 30-odd years ago, and maybe I just tuned out the Canadian songs.  Although Bachman-Turner Overdrive was a Canadian group as I recall.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 02/13 at 10:30 AM • #


    1. The Can-con laws specify what percentage of your play list is acceptable . It also changed the percentage for different times of day (15% for after 12 mid for example [not real #’s just for demonstration purposes]).
      All this was done on an average over a predetermined amount of time ,so your memory is probably correct . Also some stations I think were exempt as in the aformentioned classic music (of which there are very few outside the CBC)

      Posted by ken the ex-canuck on 02/13 at 11:42 AM • #


    1. I remember when I used to drive transport truck across country from Toronto to Vancouver
      and listening to local pop stations in northern Ontario . There is only so many times one can listen to Terry Jacks rendition of Seasons In The Sun without wanting to drive headlong into the next truck going in the opposite direction( 2 was my limit).
      The only alternative was the CBC or it’s french sister.
      What I wouldn’t have done for XM or Sirius.
      Night time was your only solice as you could pick-up Clear channel AM stations in the US with only having to avoid a half dozen moose or so on the road licking the salt remnants.
      A small price to pay I say! It made the 1200 miles from T.O. to Winnipeg bearable(oh ya I forgot about the bears)I used to think how easy my Aussie colleagues had it just having to put up with kangaroos and it was warm to boot(not 40below in march in Kapuskasing)

      Posted by ken the ex-canuck on 02/13 at 12:02 PM • #


    1. OTOH .It wasn’t all bad though Jean-Paul and his wife put out a really good spread at the Opaz in Opasatica, especially when he bussed in the strippers from North Bay
      AAAHHH the memories.

      Posted by ken the ex-canuck on 02/13 at 12:07 PM • #


    1. Despite the Canadian Content rule, Canadian radio (the music programming anyway) is still well worth listening to. My brother attended college near Buffalo and he and his friends all listened to the FM stations out of Toronto because the playlists were much more eclectic and experimental than the US.

      I live a couple of hours drive from the border and in fact am going up next weekend with the wife and kids to skate on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.

      (If the wife wasn’t with me, I might’ve even planned to attend the world famous “Canadian Ballet”–see Andrea’s post above.)

      We get CBC TV out of Kingston, ON, and the politics & “news” from the CBC is atrocious but we know and love Don Cherry, the hockey commentator on “Hockey Night in Canada”. Hell, I’d move to Canada too if “Grapes” got elected PM.

      Posted by JDB on 02/13 at 03:18 PM • #


    1. “Tragically Hip” is the only acceptable Canadian band.

      I once floated the idea of an islamic rock group to be called the “Hajjically Trip”, but it never caught on.

      Don’t knock Canadian football – it may not be the AFL, but it’s the next best thing

      Posted by jlchydro on 02/13 at 05:51 PM • #


    1. Jeffs

      BTO was indeed Cancon (as we call it here).

      The were the restructured “Guess Who”.  Pretty boring.

      I should add “The Band” to the short list of acceptable Canadian music.

      Robbie Robertson’s “The Night They Drove old Dixie Down” has to be one of the greatest songs of all time.

      Imagine! The definitive US civil war song was written by a Canadian – half Jewish, half Huron.

      Posted by jlchydro on 02/13 at 07:05 PM • #


    1. The Canadian punk band D.O.A. (from BC) is one of my all-time favorites. In fact, I saw tons of great Canadian punk and new wave acts through the ‘80’s that were first rate.

      As a kid, I loved BTO. “Bachman-Turner Overweight” were a great ‘70’s act and their album “Not Fragile” still gets a lot of middle aged guys’ heads bobbin’.

      Robbie Robertson has a pedigree from the roots of rock (think Buddy Holly-era) up to today with his Native American recordings plus he’s a decent actor. Robbie is fine.

      Neil Young, son of a famous Canadian hockey journalist, is also very good. And ‘70’s Gordon Lightfoot? Can’t beat it with a stick.

      I really dislike Joni Mitchell though. I’d rather listen to Celine Dion. No kidding.

      Posted by JDB on 02/13 at 08:39 PM • #


    1. I’ve long considered Alanis Morrisette’s career to be an act of war by Canada upon the rest of the world – not least of all the United States.

      Posted by Roberts on 02/14 at 01:32 AM • #


  1. <quote>Begin the day with a friendly voice
    A companion unobtrusive
    Playing that song that’s so elusive
    And the magic music makes your morning mood</quote>

    Of course, they do end the song:

    <quote>One likes to believe in the freedom of music
    But glittering prizes and endless compromises
    Shatter the illusion of integrity, yeah</quote>

    All it does is make Canada look provincial and paranoid; sort of like the old radio ads that ran here in Crappy New Jersey™ – “the Statue of Liberty is really in New Jersey!” No it’s not.  Quit it.  It’s not like you’re in a hurry to claim Staten Island, and that’s a rock’s toss away from the Amboys.  (Oh, and Hoboken isn’t as hip as Soho, either.)

    “Canadian Radio – now 35% Canadian!” What a sad commentary.

    PS – aren’t the Barenaked Ladies a Canadian outfit?

    Posted by Nightfly on 02/14 at 02:32 PM •