Media activism in Canada has a new name, and well, an altogether new twist. Alex Mulroney (who claims there is no relation to the former Canadian Prime Minister, but says he is “proud to share his name with the greatest leader North of Washington”) is a 27 year-old Toronto activist who started a new organization formerly called “Total Integration,” but is now “shifting gears” because of “leftist hackers” who managed to shut down the group's former website which, among other things, called for total media integration between Canada and the USA. This summer Mulroney plans to announce new plans for the organization, a new name, and a new, secure website. One thing is certain though, the mandate of the group will not change.
Mulroney is dedicated to “reclaiming activism from leftist media morons in Canada, who need to wake up and see that what the country needs is total integration with America.” Mulroney's position is of course not always popular in the Great White North, and he claims to have suffered through “death threats and more.” This young entrepreneur with dual citizenship to the USA believes that the battle in Canada is over, concerning media independence anyway. He claims that nearly every sector is completely dominated by American corporations and investors, and says that this is a good thing for Canadians and for the country's economy.
Canadians are OK people, but listen, for all the time they spend whining about their crappy CBC and so-called film industry, they could be talking with Media CEOs like we do. Every piece of the media pie in Canada is dominated by America, from magazines to radio to TV to the cinema. We want to profit from what we like to call progressive convergence, and work with these companies instead of fighting them.
Mulroney says that successive Canadian governments have rightly handed over large segments of domestic media production, broadcasting and distribution to friendly investors south of the border. And while it is true that the country's impotent CRTC regulation body has done little to stop such mergers (including the recent buy-out of Canadian cinema niche company Alliance Atlantis by American mega-finance corp Goldman Sachs) and the current Harper administration thinks public broadcasting refers to Fox News being shown on televisions in malls and bars, there has been resistance from some groups. Mulroney thinks they have wasted their time and should join his team for an “integrated future.”
Look, groups like the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting are a real rosy-cheeked bunch, but they are living in the 1970s. All we are saying is that if you can't win, don't fight. We aren't even against Canadian content, but it's going to have to cut it with the professionals South of Ottawa – the people who really know what audiences want – if it's deserving of airtime or shelf space in Canuckland.
Mulroney says that he is negotiating several sponsorship deals for his group with major companies that share his vision of “integrated media, two countries, and one audience.”
While his crew regroups and readies for what they say will be an “explosive launch” this summer, he encourages people to email him with comments that they will later post on the new site.
Basically, we're challenging Canadians to come up with good reasons, and we don't believe they exist but we're willing to be democratic, as to why the country should have independent, autonomous media. I mean, four percent of films in Canadian theatres last year (2006) were Canadian. Who are people kidding? They want Spiderman, and they should get it.
Disagree? Drop Mulroney a line at alexmulroney@budweiser .com. And, no, it's not a joke he says, it's his “favourite beer,” and represents some of the ideas he'd like to see implemented in media. Confused? You and me both…