Direct import

There must be no other country in the world that publishes and broadcasts more news and feature articles holus-bolus from a single foreign source than Canada does from the United States. If KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City has footage of a tornado near the tiny town of Broken Arrow, CBC and CTV will run it on their national broadcasts. Wildfires in the Hollywood Hills are another favourite. The footage is so easy; the fires just keep burning. And the cost is low to fill one-minute-thirty in the newscast.

Some Canadian newspapers even have special package deals. The Sunday edition of the Toronto Star includes two sections filled with news and book reviews from the New York Times. The Globe and Mail has complete pages every day devoted to material from the Wall Street Journal. By contrast, if you happen to be in the U.S., you’d have a hard time finding one story about Canada in a month of searching.

Time was when such U.S. content was only available to subscribers at high costs, but these days, you can read everything on line. So what’s the purpose of all this U.S. spillover other than to fill up the newscast or the paper with something that’s ready to go? What a lazy way to serve readers and viewers.

Obituaries offer a particularly egregious example. On all too many days the Globe runs obits plucked from the New York Times Service or The Guardian about people you never heard of before with little or nothing to do with Canada. Go to London, buy any of the quality papers, and you’ll get half a dozen wonderfully written obituaries of Britons. In Canada, now that Sandra Martin has retired from the Dead Beat, as she called it, other than regular offerings by Fred Langan, good reads are few and far between. All we get is another Kansan whose corn grew higher than an elephant’s eye.

Our fevered independence so celebrated yesterday is a joke. If a U.S. celebrity comes to town on a book tour, movie promo, or just to parade her pulchritude, Canadian journalists line up in droves. We went from being British colonials to American lapdogs and didn’t even notice.

Update: The original post misspelled Fred Langan’s surname. 

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