While Americans eagerly welcome the return of Darth Vader to their local theaters, our neighbors to the north risk arrest if they hook up to what Canada's culturecrats call the Death Stars: the satellites that deliver such digital satellite services as DirecTV and USSB.
Although it is legal to own a satellite dish in Canada, it is illegal to subscribe to unlicensed American companies. Still, fed up with cable regulations that force them to purchase Canadian-produced channels in order to receive such American favorites as HBO, CNN, and BET, at least 200,000 Canadians have used American addresses to sign up for DSS providers. This has Canada's culturecrats steaming.
"Everyone involved–pirate, retailer and purchaser–could be charged with a criminal offense," Minister of Industry John Manley told The Boston Globe.
The assault on DSS is the latest reinforcement to the increasingly porous barricade the Canadian government has attempted to erect against American cultural exports, which include books, magazines, television, movies, and even country music.
In 1994, a Canadian bureaucracy kicked the American-owned Country Music Channel (CMC) off Canadian cable systems, giving its spot to the newly created Canadian-owned New Country Network (NCN). It wasn't until a year and a half later, in September 1996, that the owners of CMC were allowed back into the Canadian market, by buying a 20 percent stake in NCN.
Other acts of cultural protectionism include prohibiting Borders Books from operating north of the American border and imposing an 80 percent tax on the advertising value of American magazines. Still, 70 percent of the magazines read and 93 percent of the movies watched by Canadians have American roots.
"There is a very strong dominance in the cultural industries of the Canadian marketplace by the United States," Canada's minister for international trade lamented to The New York Times. "We come at this from the point of preserving culture and identity."