As I see it on this Canada Day, our political problems here in Canada are outgrowths of our cultural problems.
Andrew Breitbart saw things this way too. He believed that controlling and changing the culture would change politics. But as we know, or Prime Minister is able to assert, with barely a ripple of pushback, that Canada has no culture. Whether he realizes it or not, he is implying that he, or any other Canadian political leader or party, is able to change the culture as he or they see fit.
And, when you think about it, Trudeau is not wrong. Ask yourself: When Canadians identify a problem, where do they invariably look to solve it? Why, the government—even if the government caused the problem in the first place!
For example: Everybody knows that climate change in Canada is going to be dealt with (or not dealt with) by electing the right party this October. Nobody is going to come up with a made-in-Canada solution to climate change on their own. That’s silly!
Everyone agrees that supply management is kind of dumb, even me—and I’m the guy who indirectly inspired Andrew Scheer to drink from that milk carton.
What I’m doing up there is making culture on my own, without letting the government tell me what culture is. I ate a milk carton on camera, and lo and behold, Canadian politics was influenced by it.
It helped that Maxime Bernier (the guy I was making fun of) was trying very hard to solve a cultural problem—Canada’s fearful attachment to supply management—through exclusively political means. Rather than capitalize on widespread anger and cultural desire for change, Max and his crew decided they were going to use the extremely political vehicle of a leadership race to push an issue on the culture. When that didn’t work, Max decided he was going to launch a new political party, subject to all the pressures that make the other parties into the sort of organizations who think supply management is just great.
Max had swallowed the same blue pill as every other Canadian: only the government can solve the problem of supply management.
But as you can see, anyone can make culture. Ideally, it should be made without allowing the government to ruin it by submitting to a grant system that incentivizes inoffensive cornball Official Canadian Culture, or through heavy-handed cronyism- such as when Elections Canada recently gave $325K to social media “influencers” with the goal of increasing voter turnout.
Now obviously it isn’t enough to make low-quality videos like I did- especially ones that are specific to a leadership race that not even very many Canadians cared about. Canadian culture creators have to think big and make culture that the entire world can appreciate: Movies like “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”, video games like “Cuphead,” TV shows like “Orphan Black,” and YouTubers like J.J. McCullough.
The kind of culture that can transform Canadian politics, however, has to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of making Canadian politics interesting. More on that next time.