APPENDICES: A CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE
The first is the preparatory notes for a speech to the
Burnaby-Richmond-Delta NDP association given 21 October 1971; the second, similar notes for a speech to the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba, 24 November 1969. The others were broadcast, on the dates given, over the CBC TV network in conjunction with the evening news as "viewpoints".
(A) CANADIAN COMMUNICATIONS AND EDUCATION
The speaker has long considered himself both a nationalist and an internationalist. The two attitudes are normally thought of as mutually exclusive. But there are circumstances in which nationalism is a form of minority self-defence, and part of the global fight against big-power domination. Canadian nationalism has nothing in
common with Hitlerism. It has a lot in common with the struggles of the American Indian or Black to assert himself.
Many educational systems throughout the world are excessively
nationalistic. It is not true of Canada. If Canadian nationalism is defined as a form of minority self-defence, then the problem in the Canadian educational system is a lack of -- rather than too much -- healthy nationalism. The problem is to ensure one's survival in the global village. The Canadian educational structure, heavily influenced by the state of mass communications in this country, instead reflects a colonial relationship with the continental model. Even the New Left reflects this colonial relationship when its media reprints wholesale from American papers without ever considering whether perhaps the specifics of Burnaby are not as pressing as those of Berkeley.
If the educational system in Canada is to reflect Canadian and world (as
distinct from purely continental) concerns, there must come into existence
a means whereby Canadians talk to each other and reach out to the world,
rather than remain locked in to the American media and its self-obsessions. The deeper one probes the Canadian condition, the more clearly one becomes aware of the relationship between mass comunication and the content of education. Before returning to this point, let us first look at the relationship between contemporary technology and Canadian nationalism.
Canadian Nationalism: a contemporary restatement
For many Canadians, nationalism is a dirty word. They fail to distinguish between the kinds of nationalism. There is the nationalism of the superpatriotic John Birch Society and Soviet Communist Party (albeit with a rhetoric of universalism). There
is also, however, the nationalism of self-respect and self-preservation,
coupled with a willingness to recognize other nations' similar right. Such
a nationalism is a necessary prelude towards eventual world harmony and integration. There is no short-cut past it. Walking comes before running.
In recent years there has been an upsurge of nationalist rhetoric (with little real action, however) in the Canadian media. The nationalists are quoted as deploring the way we hand over our best jobs and resources to people who have no intention of participating in the responsibilities of Canadian citizenship. The nationalist points out that we actually export more capital than we import. With a rational financial system we need not be mortgaged to the United States. Canadian nationalists resent the massive inflow of media reflecting the concerns of primarily one other society.
The anti-nationalists say that nationalism of all varieties is a bad
thing, old-fashioned, and leads to Hitlerism. They claim to be internationalist, favouring free trade and the survival of the fittest in the emergence of a rational, efficient global system of economy and resource management.
Scratch a Canadian anti-nationalist, however, and most of the time you will find -- particularly if he is a businessman working in conjunction with American industry -- that his internationalism extends no further than the United States. He is a continentalist satisfied to play second fiddle. The future global economy and
culture, he believes, will be American in orientation, and we should stick with it. He does not really believe a Canadian Hitler is going to invade the United States and torture our American professors.
Academic anti-nationalism, the holier-than-thou attitude, does nothing to
hinder imperialistic nationalism. But it does seriously hinder Canada's capacity to resist. Purist internationalism of that variety is largely responsible for the lack of relevance of our social science programs, where students are more likely to be taught American foreign policy than their own.
To understand the world situation facing Canada, we need to bear in mind
four salient factors. First, communications technology and the
so-called multinational corporation are indeed turning the world into something of a global village. But while communications technology has, until recently, lent itself to the dominance of Hollywood and New York, other uses of technology permit us to reach out to the world. Second, an economic system may tend to centralize profits at one or a few geographic locations. The redistributive function of a taxation system is designed to recycle wealth. The cycle operates very poorly across frontiers, and the multinational corporation in Canada is well able to juggle its books to our detriment. Canadian nationalism suggests that Canada get a fair return on the use of its resources, as suggested in the recent Commons committee report on Canada-US relations.
Third, Canadian nationalism says there is no reason why Canadian
professionals and technicians should be obliged to move to the US in order
to reach the top. A rational international economy does not require the shipment of bulk ore from Ungava to the American mid-West. In this day of telecommunications and the multitude of technology relating to communications there is no reason why research has to be centered in California and Texas rather than
in Canada and other parts of the world. Fourth, it is a delusion to believe that continentalism readily leads the way to world federalism. Perhaps a parliament of viable constituencies of smaller size would be a better path. Paradoxically, the self-preservation of constituencies may be a useful contribution towards the emergence of a genuinely intercultural world.
Our 19th Century educational attitude
19th Century Canada was a hinterland to the Empire metropolis. We remain in the same situation, except the empire is now American rather than British. The unconscious function of our education
system, contrary to the delusions of the internationalists (self-proclaimed), is to train "Americans" rather than humanists or world citizens.
For the schools, A.B. Hodgetts has painted the picture in his book What
Culture? What Heritage? He says, "New programs in Canadian
studies, if they are to be developed at all, must be devised within our
our own educational systems. The social studies centres in the United
States cannot do it for us." Yet the almost standard reaction of an administrator in a Canadian department, ministerial or academic, is "let's get a big name from the States." The "big names" of Canada are better respected in the United States than in their own country. Under these circumstances, is it any wonder that most of
the social science textbooks used in Canadian colleges are published in, and written for, the United States? Or, to bring the point closer to home, that one can graduate in History from SFU without taking a single course in Canadian History and then teach the subject in the schools? Can you imagine a political science department in the United States where all but one of the professors is an alien, including the department head? That was the situation in the University where I was denied my professorship and tenure.
What must be done?
In immediate terms, of course, teachers, media people, and professors can become aware of the fairly rich heritage of Canadian thought and life. Here we have the country which, with its
indigenous Tory and Socialist traditions, is really of quite different origin than the United States. Yet all of this is taught at SFU in one short course on "Canadian Society and Politics", the
only course in its political science program specifically devoted to
On a more profound level, however, it is asking a lot that Canadian
educators and media people reflect a self-awareness of a society which itself lacks that awareness. Canadians are only dimly aware of their history and present condition. Like the fish, they swim in the water and take their medium -- the overflow from the United States -- for granted. Canadians must want to know more about themselves
and the world and use the political and parapolitical process to get their governments, media and educational institutions to get on with the job.
(B) THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ABSTRACT ECONOMICS
(For the political science equivalent of this speech,
see the reference in footnote 25 to
In October the Winnipeg Tribune carried a full-page article by
Prof. R.C.Bellan in praise of the market economy, or "free" enterprise versus socialism. He gave a classic description of the market economy and a hymn of praise to its virtues. The only problem is that such an economic system has never pertained in Canada and
never could unless, say, the population were to multiply tenfold and our
resources were to be processed entirely in this country. Even then, there would be (if the US is any guide) a heavy element of oligopoly and administered prices within the system. But whereas in the US classic liberal (i.e., "conservative") economists can plea for a return to the free market, such a plea is hopeless in Canada -- a country which in nearly all sectors defies the classic analysis.
Canadian scholars usually receive their highest degrees from American
(formerly British) universities; economic analysis started (in modern
terms) with the British and, in outpouring of print and degrees, is now
dominated by the Americans. By and large, then, analysis has been the product of countries with a large-scale economic hinterland and conditions approximating those dear to the heart of mainstream economists. This analysis is then imported into Canada as though we were receiving a universal model. (The Innis formulation is barely known). In fact, there is no such thing as abstract, universal economics. An analogy may help clarify the point: normally the compass points to magnetic North and you can rely upon the laws of geomagnetism to find your way. But geomagnetism itself defeats you when you get into that North. If you really want to find your way, you have to look for another method, another model. I would suggest that our perpetual reliance upon models derived from other, bigger systems blinds us to the special circumstances of particular countries like Canada and hinders a
realistic understanding of our problems and potential.
If a party, such as the Progressive Conservatives, takes some such
formulation -- "free enterprise" -- it ignores the real economics of this country. The basic economic fact in Canada is that ours is a voluntarily-enslaved enterprise. We have chosen to allow the Americans to develop and extract our resources. Contrary to the opinions of mainstream economists, I suggest we do not need American capital to further develop this country. In 1967 only 15% of American
corporate expansion in Canada was actually financed by US dollars. There rest was financed from sources, including retained earnings, in this country.
With appropriate measures of taxation and induced investment we could --
as has Japan -- finance our own future. Former Vice President Hubert Humphrey himself, in response to my question, asked "Why doesn't your government do as in Japan and restrict American ownership to a less than controlling interest in any firm?"
(Tribune, 15 November 1969). In the past, when a Canadian has asked
that question he has usually been branded anti-American; such was the reaction to a series of articles I wrote six years ago for the St. Catharines Standard. This in itself reveals the degree to which our cultural climate and value-system has been oriented towards service in the American economic empire.
Look at the present situation. Most of the unions are continental (not
truly international, as their names would suggest). So is the preponderant sector of the business communities. So is the content of social science teaching in this country. On the other hand, there is a nationalist element in the NDP, hampered by continentalist union ties; a nationalist element in this party, hampered by business ties; and a growing realization by many Liberals that the past continentalism of that party has been an error. We should get together on this point. In fact, in what was admittedly a special set of circumstances, I seriously argued an NDP-PC electoral coalition in the St. Catharines Standard of 30 March 1963.
The crisis facing Canada in the Seventies is the same as that which faced us in the Sixties, as put forward in the Standard early in those years. The question is whether we will gain our self-respect and embark upon a new program of self-development, surpassing that of our first Prime Minister, in the context of a genuinely multilateral world? To do this, we need to remove
all the barriers which inhibit the development of Canadian enterprise. These barriers exist in large part because we permit them to exist. Our tax structure and incentives system often favours the American corporation over our own. We permit our unions to send their pension funds for investment by American headquarters. We fill our universities with such a disproportionate number of outsiders that the Canadian perspective is lost and first-class Canadians get frozen out of jobs.
The issue, then, should be Canadian enterprise (individual, corporate,
public or mixed) versus continental absorption. A revitalized national policy would aim at Canadian control (at least 51%) of corporations operating in this country. Measures to generate and channel new investment, like the CANIOPT program which I tried to impress upon Messrs Benson and Reisman in 1964, would assist the development of new Canadian enterprise. Both corporations and unions should be rationalized to achieve efficiency in the Canadian and world contexts; and there is nothing wrong with international arrangements so long as these are based on an ethic of genuine
mutuality. And hopefully our universities, faculty and students, will turn their attention to the problems and potentials of Canada and the world at large, rather than focus forever on the fads and fancies of the United States.
(C) Technology and society. 24 April 1969
In recent weeks, leading newspapers across the country have published a series of interviews with Prime Minister Trudeau. From his responses, we have gained an insight into his current misunderstanding of the world we live in. On two major and related points, the Prime Minister seems to fail to see the Canadian dilemma,
although he came close to understanding it when he said recently that
foreign policy should determine our weapons and not the other way around. He is quoted as saying that "people don't lose their sense of national identity for reasons of technology." In other words, technology is neutral. Presumably he means that one can use
technology one way or another. But there is more to it than that.
When Canada first started to use TV we could have adopted a European
system. We could have required all TV sets manufactured or imported into
Canada to operate on this European system of technology. Instead, we
followed the system adopted in the United States. As a result, the bulk of Canada's population is able to tune to American stations. Our tastes in entertainment and advertising have been
largely molded from the United States. Our sense of uniqueness has eroded. Culturally, economically, militarily, we are merely a region of North America, like the Deep South, a little different in minor things but more and more part of the American way of life. Our technology has tied us to the United States because the buttons, the on-off switches, are South of the border. The products coming out of
our factories are determined in Washington, Chicago, New York and
Detroit. When you recognize Red China, Mr. Trudeau, how many of our corporations will be able to trade with that country? You will find that control of our industrial technology means control of our exports.
It is not just a question of who owns our technology. By making ourself almost exclusively dependent upon American technology, we are tied to the United States for replacement parts, for patents, for all those things which influence the direction of production and thus even our national identity. So, if we want to exercise national determination, we will need to restructure our technology. To diversify. To develop some of our own.
Which brings up the question of money. On this topic, Mr. Trudeau believes
Canada has reached its financial limitations, it seems. The
elementary facts are instead that we have never seriously utilized
Canada's financial potential. That is, Canadians and Canadian governments have not made the basic decisions as to how our
financial resources should be allocated. 85% percent of so-called American investment in Canada is actually financed from Canadian sources. The decision to produce large American-style cars, with their extra problems of parking and pollution, was made in Detroit -- not in Canada. The life and death of mining towns depends upon decisions made elsewhere. Our problem is not lack of financial
resources. The real problem is money spent on planned obsolescense and the virtues of Brand X rather than for research and development.
I conclude with a story which illustrates the whole thing. There will be
at least 50,000 students unemployed this Summer. At the same time,
British-American Oil is spending over 14 million dollars to change its
name to Gulf. The change is being made so that Canadians can be reached by
overflow advertizing in American TV and magazines. Take 14 million
dollars, divide, and you get about $300 for each student. That's how our priorities are distorted, because we have tied ourselves to another country's technology and finance.
(D) The media in two cultures, 12 February 1970
The Canadian Radio-TV Commission wants greatly increased Canadian content
over the airwaves, particularly in prime evening viewing hours which are presently swamped by American programming. In my opinion, the Commission is making a last-ditch attempt to foster a genuinely Canadian broadcasting industry. And it is doing this in the belief that English-speaking Canada can do the same thing
which French-speaking Canada has managed to do. To me, the essence of
Commission Chairman Juneau's argument came, in his initial press
conference, when he pointed out that of the ten top-rated TV programs in the Montreal area, no less than seven are produced within French-speaking Canada. If the relatively small population of French Canada can produce the artistic creativity to supply its
own broadcasting needs, then why cannot the much larger English-speaking population of this country do the same thing?
At this point of the argument, of course, the critics then raise the question of American competition. Chairman Juneau describes our
reaction to American competition as "an obsession." He says Canadian
broadcasters have permitted themselves to be traumatized by the American presence. He implies that the basic English-Canadian problem is a lack of will-power, a lack of self-confidence, and here I must agree with him one hundred percent. By contrast, the French Canadians have been able to produce their own singers,
musicians, actors, writers, film directors, and creative producers - all
of whom stay in Quebec rather than emigrate to France. And this is an
important point: in French Canada you have a total media situation which permits broadcast artists to emerge as stars. A French-Canadian TV artist gets written up in the magazine. He is able to record his songs, and they are played on radio and sold in the stores. It is this total back-up which enables French Canada to do its own thing, rather than rely upon imports from France.
What I am saying, then, is that dynamic Canadian broadcasting requires a Canadian-oriented media in general. The CRTC recognizes this when, amongst its new proposals, it plans to require AM radio stations to devote at least thirty percent of their music programming to Canadian song artists and musicians. It could keep some of our best broadcast artists in Canada. In short, it could help build Canadian stars.
But earlier I said this is all a last-ditch stand. Unfortunately, we Canadians finally get excited, finally make a move, at the point where it may be too late. A good example, from another field, would be the question of American professors dominating our social science university programs. For two years now we have heard a lot about
this topic, but current evidence seems to indicate no proportional increase in the number of Canadians being hired by our universities. In short, the howl seems to have come too late.
The question then is whether the CRTC move also comes too late. For one
thing, upper administrative echelons in Canada are probably dominated by
those very people who are obsessed with American products and lack confidence in the ability of Canadians to be creative, to do their own thing. For another, the Commission's
policy will be hampered by the existence of phony border stations, like
those South of Winnipeg and Vancouver, which steal advertising revenue
from Canadian broadcasters -- the very revenue needed to finance Canadian creativity. The commission's move is also a
last-ditch stand in view of the technology of broadcasting. In a few years
time, satellite stations will perhaps broadcast directly to receiver sets
on the surface of the continent. If we don't have a viable broadcasting
industry by that time, then the whole game is lost. I have been saying for more than a decade that without Canadian communications, there will be no Canada.
(E) Nationalism in two cultures. 21 February 1968.
Rene Levesque has been touring the campuses of English-speaking Canada. He
tells us that an increasing number of English-speaking students express
sympathy for Quebec separatism. This seems a surprising fact and one worth
thinking about. Why would bright young English-Canadians sympathize with the break-up of their country? To find the answer, you have to look at one aspect of the separatist position which is rarely noted. The separatist regards Canada as a lost cause for two reasons. First, he says that Canada cannot guarantee the growth or preservation of the French language and culture. And secondly, in a low voice, he says that English-Canadians cannot even fight for their own survival, let alone that of the Quebecois. The separatist mentions what few Canadians care to acknowledge, that we are not even prepared to fight for sovereignty over our economy and to control our own destiny. Since English Canadians are not prepared to work for the preservation of their
destiny, then we should at least let the French Canadians have theirs, so the argument goes.
And this line strikes a responsive note with many young English-Canadians. They know that when they graduate they will have to work in a corporate world dominated by American parent companies. Politicians have talked about this problem for years, and Diefenbaker was swept to office on the theme, but essentially nothing has been done about it. We remain hooked on American
derivations, and like the drug addict, refuse the adjustment of withdrawal; though countries like Sweden with half our population have managed to develop without such dependence.
We are not prepared to make American corporations reflect Canadian needs and the Canadian identity. The French Canadian nationalist, by contrast, is prepared to legislate the use of French by corporations operating in Quebec. The young English-Canadian looks at his parliamentary heritage and finds an older generation prepared to import American political institutions in a mindless imitation of the United States, rather than the reform of his own. The recent
constitutional was peppered with proposals adopted from the American system of government, with no real evidence they would improve our style of public life. One of the few areas of agreement verbally arising from the conference was that, in some respects, our upper house should look more like the United States Senate. Young
Canadians would rather abolish the institution altogether, as Quebec
recently did with its upper house.
And if our students notice the steady Americanization of our political institutions they are hardly surprised. Because in their
colleges and universities they find politics and government are taught largely by American-trained professors, and that more and more their professors are in fact Americans. Canadian political scientists are already in the minority on many campuses of Canada. The roster of Canadian political science programs headed by
Americans is staggering. To name just a few at this time: Guelph, Glendon,
Marionapolis, McMaster, Saskatchewan, Toronto, McGill, and Winnipeg, where
the only Canadian political scientist is outvoted on the question of
whether more Canadian materials will be used in the introductory
course. By contrast, the French Canadian student learns about his own
society. The French Canadian feels he can be maitre chez
nous. And he is prepared to fight for his destiny. Prepared to make
some sacrifice. We in English Canada are not. This is why the separatist
despises us. The pity is that many young English-Canadians admit we deserve this judgement - but do not try to change it.
(F) The Americanization of the universities, October 1969
Brain drain is an old story to concerned Canadians -- but one which has recently taken a new twist. It used to mean the loss of Canadian technical people to the United States. But last year the number of Canadians moving to the States was matched by Americans coming to Canada. They come here to escape pollution, race riots, Vietnam, to do business, or to practise their profession. Some seek to build a
better America here in Canada. Visit Calgary and you'll see what I
Paradoxically, the Canadian brain drain continues, and in one profession
important to the nation's intellectual life, the large presence of
professors on the Canadian campus prevents many Canadians from returning
and obliges others to leave, if they can. This sad fact should cause no surprise to Administrators. It was predicted in my book, Canada Can Thrive, and a companion piece in the Canadian Association of University Teachers Bulletin in February 1962. The present mess could have been avoided. But educational officials ignored the warning and we are now faced with two separate -- but related -- findings, the Comay study and the Kilgour report.
Mr. Comay finds that Canadian academics have moved to the United States,
or remained there after graduate study, not simply because of pay scales
but rather because of the range of jobs available there. He suggests we
could lure them back to Canada, now that our range of jobs is wider, if
the universities were to advertize more aggresively and if the Government
were to make certain adjustments of policy. Neither of these suggestions go to the heart of the matter. The real problem is that Canadian educational officials pay only lip service to the need for more Canadian content. No real effort is made to hire Canadians who could bring Canadian relevence and concern to their courses. The prevailing approach is instead to specify the need for a man with N degree level, at N salary, to teach N course. Canadian relevance doesn't usually count. Thus a university will hire, say, a botanist whose research concern might happen to be the Virginia oak when, with a little juggling of rank
and salary specifications up or down, they might hire a Canadian who is
interested in the development of the Northern pine. In the social sciences, there have been cases of controversial or cranky Canadians passed over in favour of safe American candidates who naturally don't belong to either the NDP or the Edmund Burke Society.
The terrible fact is that Canadian academics have a hard time returning, or even moving around, in Canada, because the department headships have gone often to Americans who then proceed to bring in their friends. Last year, this country graduated some 10,000 masters and doctors, who could have taught on our campuses. We hired only 362 of these Canadians to fill new academic positions. At the same time, however, we hired 1013 Americans to fill new positions. Taking old and new positions together, Canadian professors are now in the minority in many Canadian departments.
So what? Well, the effect is illustrated by the Kilgour report on the teaching of international relations in Canada. Kilgour found seven universities which teach American foreign policy but not Canadian foreign policy. Can you imagine an American university doing something like that, vice versa? On the Canadian campus scene, Kilgour found that the student has a fifty-fifty chance of being
obliged to study American rather than Canadian foreign policy and diplomatic history if such were his field of interest. Why are we so casual in the way we train Canadians to understand Canada and the world? The reason is fairly simple: we hire a specialist in international relations. Nationality is not supposed to be important.
He will likely be an American, or trained there. Naturally, he knows more
about American foreign policy than ours, so that is what his department overtly or covertly adds to its list of course offerings. Even if the course is called, simply, Foreign Policy, the examples will be largely American. In either event, the Canadian student is cheated of an opportunity to focus on his own society, and one more professorship is closed off to a Canadian who might have wanted to teach in his own country.