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Mark Steyn

Steyn on Canada and the Commonwealth

Doing the Jobs Canadians Won't Do

Being confined for a week to a Canadian courtroom, I have been taking a keen interest in the many laws it's possible to run afoul of up here. For example:

Your Porn Is Not Canadian Enough, CRTC Warns Erotica Channels

Apparently, this is something to do with "CanCon" - Canadian Content regulations. On the radio, the CRTC requires you to play a certain amount of Canadian music - you get points according to whether your record has a Canadian performer, a Canadian producer, a Canadian composer, a Canadian lyricist. This is to strengthen and support Canadian culture. I had no idea a similar system applies to Canadian pornography, but 'tis so:

For failing to broadcast sufficient levels of Canadian-made pornography — and failing to close-caption said pornography properly — a trio of Toronto-based erotica channels has earned a reprimand from the Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission.

Wednesday, the CRTC issued a broadcast notice saying AOV Adult Movie Channel, XXX Action Clips and the gay-oriented Maleflixxx were all failing to reach the required 35% threshold for Canadian content.

Which is eight hours and change per day. With Viagra and Cialis, if it lasts more than six hours, you should see your doctor. But, on Canadian TV, if it lasts under eight hours, you'll be seeing the CRTC. Other than that, I don't know how the points system works. Possibly you get points if two of the participants in a three-way are Canadian, or the sex act in question was developed in Canada, perhaps through a grant from the Canada Arts Council. At any rate, the three channels will face disciplinary action for their shortcomings.

If you're wondering what distinctively Canadian pornography involves, well...

Maleflixxx appears to source much of its Canadian offerings from a single studio, known as International Amateur Adult Video (IAAV). On Friday at 3 a.m., for instance, it is airing IAAV's Men of Toronto.

Three a.m. is nobody's idea of primetime. Apparently in peak audience hours they're airing Men of Cleveland and Men of Des Moines. As for that business about "failing to close-caption said pornography", Canadian porn channels are supposed to provide both closed-captioning of moans and groans for deaf porn aficionados and, for the blind, "audio description" of the sex acts being performed.

Canada seems in many ways less regulated than the sclerotic, bureaucracy-choked republic to the south. Yet, oddly, sex is a fraught business. A couple of years back, as a reminder of the forensic intrusions of the regulatory state, I passed along this tale (from the Montreal Gazette) of the unilingual anglophone sex aid that fell afoul of the commissars:

Distribution Percour Inc., owner of Boutique SĂ©duction in Montreal North, has been ordered by a Quebec Court judge to pay $500 for selling an item called Sleeve Super Stretch whose packaging was in English only.

The April 19 ruling came after a failed six-year effort by the Office québécois de la langue française to get the store to stick French labels on Sleeve Super Stretch boxes.

Acting on a citizen's complaint, an OQLF inspector visited the store in 2004 and photographed the packaging of the sex-toy accessory worn by men.

"Acting on a citizen's complaint": There speaks the sexually liberated statist. "I went into a sex store and I was absolutely disgusted – by the English-speaking sex aids."

In his 10-page ruling, Judge Gilles Michaud slammed the defendant's claim that the device is exempt under Quebec's law on the language of commerce and trade.

For safety reasons, Michaud said, it's important for consumers to be able to understand written instructions on the items they buy.

"We must protect those who benefit from warnings and need to understand them," Michaud wrote.

Heaven forbid that a confused francophone should attempt to wear the product on his nose. Fortunately, prosecutors were able, with the use of public funds, to hunt down Quebec-compliant sex aids:

A crown prosecutor presented the store with a similar product made by Trojan that comes with bilingual packaging.

But Gaudreau responded that the Trojan item is not exactly the same. "It vibrates," she told the court. "Customers won't like it."

You can find the court decision here, and the OQLF fine details here.

As Pierre Trudeau assured Canadians, the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation. Unless you're in there wearing a non-vibrating anglophone sex aid - or watching a non-closed-captioned Man of Idaho engage in an insufficiently voiceover-narrated sex act with a Brazilian transsexual.

March 6, 2014



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