Catching Up on – Cultural Trade Wars, the sequel – the Rogers-Shaw-Québecor Pinãta – the online safety cauldron is bubbling – Terry Glavin in your face.

January 23, 2023

Last week published the second of two posts mining the history files for lessons learned about trade stand-offs with the US on cultural legislation.

The 1995 Country Music TV dispute seemed like a phony war, but the 1999 split-run magazine confrontation was the real thing. It was a genuine sound and fury and may still be influencing Heritage Canada’s approach to C-11 and C-18.


Speaking of sound and fury, MPs on the parliamentary Industry committee (INDU) want to have another go at the Rogers-Shaw merger.

The committee’s first report in March 2022 condemned the merger and since then the agreement has been reconfigured by the sale of Shaw’s Freedom Wireless to Québecor and the Competition Tribunal’s approval of the three-cornered deal.

Appearances at this Wednesday’s day long meeting are scheduled for Rogers, Shaw and Québecor but also industry rivals Globalive Communications (which wants to buy Freedom Wireless) and the telcos’ tormentor-in-chief Tek Savvy. The Competition Bureau is also summoned.

The remainder of the witness list is loaded up with opponents of the deal so proceedings may resemble a robust game of piñata.

Tomorrow the Competition Bureau appears before the Federal Court of Appeal to challenge the Tribunal’s approval of the merger.


The controversy of curating online speech continues to bubble in nations around the world.

The rights, responsibilities and liabilities of social media platforms are being regulated by legislators in some countries. But in the US it seems the Supreme Court is destined to become the regulator by default. There’s a good story in the New York Times on that.


My read of the week: Terry Glavin’s thoughts on the CBC and trust in journalism. No endorsement offered (or sought), but Glavin’s fearless iconoclasm is as refreshing as ice water.


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Howard Law

I am retired staff of Unifor, the union representing 300,000 Canadians in twenty different sectors of the economy, including 10,000 journalists and media workers. As the former Director of the Media Sector and as an unapologetic cultural nationalist, I have an abiding passion for public policy in Canadian media.

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