Wednesday, March 30, 2011

François Ricard, The Lyric Generation: The Life and Times of the Baby Boomers, trans. Donald Winkler, Toronto: Stoddart, 1994.

François Ricard's The Lyric Generation is, as the book's subtitle states, a description of the baby boom generation, or at least part of that generation in Quebec. Beginning with an overview of the generation's childhood, Ricard offers a commentary on the inspirations, powers, and goals of the generation until the late 1980s. Written without footnotes or references concerning his sources, Ricard claims that he borrows from the fields of history, demography, sociology, psychology, political philosophy, and anthropology, and he offers no apologies for his eclectic approach to describing his own generation. A co-author of ... the McGill professor of French Studies divides his description of his generation into three sections, none of which allow for easy summary since each is a detailed description of the multiple factors which shaped the first-half of the baby boom generation during different parts of its existence.

Section 1: A Lucky Star

Ricard begins the first section of the text, "A Lucky Star," not by describing the baby boom generation, but by describing the generation which came before. Having grown up in the 1930s, either having their youth or young adulthood affected by the depression, this earlier generation had met the end of the Second World War with a sense of hope. With the prosperity of the post-war years, they could obtain the kind of life-style that they had only once dreamed of. Education and prosperity was no longer open to just a select few, but to everyone. In Quebec this optimism was furthered by less control from the Catholic Church and by workers who were more willing to make demands of the state and employers. Interestingly, Ricard notes that although the period between 1945 and 1960 is often referred to as "la grande noirceur" in Quebec, it was actually not a time of darkness in many non-political realms. Rather, it was an era of profound opportunity when compared to what had come before. However, weary of the precariousness of prosperity and wanting to spare the next generation the hardships which they had faced, the parents of the baby boom generation used this period to create a new generation which was to not only carry on their heritage, but also be something radically different.

In response to arguments that mothers of the baby boom generation only created that large generation as part of their traditional roles as producers of children, Ricard argues that the women of the post-war period were not as subjugated as is often believed. They had had experience working during the war, they were exposed to more information about their world than ever before, in Quebec many were leaving rural areas for the cities, and with this exodus and their better understanding of the larger world, the influence of the church over their lives decreased. Thus, the mothers of the baby boom, according to Ricard, did often wield some control over whether they got pregnant. Although society and the church still encouraged them to produce children, they only listened because they wanted to. They may have been conditioned to listen, but they did have agency in the process.

Ricard begins his second chapter by defining the specific sub-set of the baby boom generation with which he is interested. He begins by defining the baby boom as the generation which was born between the second half of the war, or just after the war, and 1960. However, what he terms the Lyric Generation can be seen as the vanguard of the baby-boom. Beginning with the rise in the birth-rate during the second half of the war and lasting up to the end of the 1940s, this generation consisted of the children who were in their late teens and early twenties during the 1960s. They were either the first children of the many marriages that occurred during the war, or were the later afterthoughts of older marriages. In this later case they almost constituted a second generation of children in the family since the circumstances of their birth were so different.

The Lyric Generation would not have been such a major force for change had the baby-boom not been so large. The very size of the baby-boom generation ensured that the Lyric Generation would drastically change society. Furthermore, as the vanguard of the baby boom, the Lyric Generation would also act as the generation's spokesmen. 

In comparing the baby boom of Quebec to that in other parts of the West, Ricard explains that Quebec, like the rest of the West, was influenced by American mass culture, the main conduit of influence of baby boom cultural revolution in the 1960s and 1970s. However, more than other Western populations, Quebec was structured around old, traditional institutions which resisted change. Yet, following the provincial election of 1960 the Quebec baby boom was given all of the tools it required to change Quebec society to be whatever it wished. Although the Lyric Generation was not old enough to vote in the 1960 and 1962 Quebec provincial elections, which initiated the changes in the province, Ricard explains that their parents were in tune with their demands. Wanting an unlimited future for their children, it was their parents who had decided to create the situation in which their children would be given the opportunity to recreate their society. Inheriting control over the province, the Lyric Generation was given all of the financial and physical resources to dismantle the old social institutions and structures and replace them with a modern, secular, socialist state.

Yet, Ricard also notes that not all of the baby boom generation benefitted equally from the new society. He argues that the baby boom consisted of two sections, a point which he believes many commentators on the generation often forget. Ricard claims that the Lyric generation was the generation of change that was followed by the second section of the baby boom, who lent support to the demands of the first wave of baby boomers. Having no choice but to give in to their demands, society offered free education as well as quality employment to the first section of the baby boom to come of age. The jobs the Lyric Generation took only required the education they had been given and allowed for considerable upward mobility. Those positions often also included considerable benefits and job protection. However, when the second half of the baby boom came of age, it did not precede large numbers of children. Thus, it did not have the reinforcements that would give it the leverage to get the employment opportunities it wanted. Rather, the first wave of the baby boom, now in control, demanded additional qualifications of the second wave, often only rewarding the later baby boomers with short-term contract positions. Having reaped the fruits of the revolutionary force of the baby boom, the Lyric Generation was not willing to offer the same advantages to those who followed them.

In discussing how the Lyric Generation changed society, Ricard begins by looking at their childhood. Theirs was the first childhood which included a normalcy of riches. Consumer goods, food, toys, and entertainment were all geared to them. Furthermore, their childhood was a wholly new phenomenon. Ricard claims that up until the 17th century, while birth and newborn life was idealized and mythologized, children were not distinct from the world around them. They were expected to work and were understood to be wholly of their world. Then, up until the 1930s, childhood was considered a kind of probationary period, where children were understood to be distinct from adults, inhabiting a world which was not fully mature. They were not expected to participate within society as adults, but they were expected to spend their childhood learning the ways of adulthood, so that they could eventually graduate into full adults. After the Second World War, however, childhood became a world unto itself. It became an idealized time of life, with its own culture and rules. Children were no longer pushed into adulthood, but the innocence and sheltered nature of childhood was maintained for as long as possible.

As the largest section of the population by the 1960s, the baby boom generation's perpetual childhood caused the society as a whole to be increasingly youth oriented. Childhood had traditionally ended by fourteen or sixteen. However, with children spending more time in school, and encouraged to do so for as long as possible, to benefit both themselves and their eventual careers, by parents who were more willing to support their children fro longer periods, the baby boom generation had less need to fully embrace adulthood. Furthermore, as the jobs of the 1960s and early 1970s dried up, that dependency began to extend into the children’s' 20s and 30s.

Section 2: Youth 

Ricard begins the second section of his book, "Youth," by noting that, while the Lyric Generation created a revolution of youth in its society, changing its norms and institutions, there was surprisingly little resistance to this generation's demands. While the generation's elders did occasionally chastise the ideals and actions of the baby boom generation, war never broke out. There were occasional skirmishes, but the Lyric Generation was largely allowed to do whatever it wanted. Although the Lyric Generation likes to identify itself with radical change and with large rallies and uprisings, their rebellion was directed at nothing in particular. There were festivals and demonstrations where the young expressed their existence and their ideals, but apart from few specific issues, there was no real resistance to the ideas and demands of the generation. Given that there was no benefit to trying to stop this massive section of the population from gaining what it wanted, the parents of the baby boom either simply gave in or joined in. Furthermore, Ricard repeats his earlier claim that the parents of the baby boomers had had their children so as to give birth to a new generation which would not know the problems and horrors of the past. Thus, when those children offered new ideas about improving the world, their parents believed the best thing they could do would be to step aside. Knowing that their children were better educated and in better financial positions than they had been, the parents could do little more than cooperate.

Although Ricard does concede that, in the case of Quebec, a real revolution did occur, he argues that this revolution was not led or conceived by the Lyric Generation. Rather, it was planned by what he calls the "frustrated reformers." These were older progressives who wanted to modernize the province. These reformers, who included the Cité Librists and Neo-Nationalists discussed by Beheils in The Prelude to Quebec's Quiet Revolution, had grown up during the 1930s and 1940s. Their advancement in Quebec society had been frustrated by an inability to take leading positions in an economy which was dominated by foreign ownership, as well as by a government and a church which conspired to reject any social reforms. However, with the support of the Lyric Generation and its demands for political representation, as well as economic and political control of the province, the frustrated reformers were able to finally gain the positions of influence they had long sought. The frustrated reformers did hold positions of standing and/or had the credentials necessary to lead their society, and thus they were able to guide the youth in their protests. They were able to give shape to the demands of the youth and direct the Lyric Generation. Indeed, the political, artistic, and other revolutionary works of 1960s Quebec were often conceived of by the older generation during the 1940s and 1950s.

Those who came after the Lyric Generation would not have the feeling that the world was under their control and could be shaped however they wanted. Rather, they entered the world of the Lyric Generation and would be unable to alter the world until that generation was gone. Thus, Ricard claims that the late-baby boomers and the children of the baby boom would live under constraints which even their grandparents had not seen. Where as older generations would always ascend to control, no one controls, or will control, society until after the Lyric Generation is gone. No other generation will be able to shape the world until the first half of the baby boom is no longer able to wield its power.

In discussing the student movements of the 1960s, Ricard argues that with the increase in the student population, its demands for the ability to study society and for the financial support to do so, its desire to use its new knowledge to remake the world, student life became something new. The ideas of students and youth came to be interchangeable. Furthermore, the universities were no longer places which had utilitarian functions. Universities now produced increasing numbers of students who followed degrees which were traditionally seen as the least useful. They did not acquire skills to allow society to continue as it always had, rather, they gained the tools of critical thinking and used them to scrutinize society and propose new solutions.

The revolution of the Lyric Generation student movement was thoroughly optimistic. They had no fear and did not doubt their cause. They knew the results of their actions would be positive. Their revolution was not driven by despair or anger, but by joy, laughter, sexual freedom, and a euphoria which made the whole movement reminiscent of a carnival. The youth recognized that the scope of their power would allow them to overturn the world without violence or bloodshed. They knew that they were the beautiful ideal of their society, that they were blessed with fortunate circumstances, and that they could then challenge any aspect of their society. They also knew that the society which they were challenging was corrupt and would not be able to defend itself.

The student movement did not aim at overturning a specific injustice or changing a specific situation. Rather it demanded the overturning of everything and initiating a new beginning for society. However, because of this desire to rebel against all authority and all authority structures, the student movement had a strained and tenuous relationship with other revolutionary organizations, including the traditional left. This student revolutionary movement did not see revolution as a means of taking power. To take power was to betray the true revolution and the destabilization of all forms of authority. Thus, student radicalism had an uneasy relationship with certified revolutionaries of the old left, including Quebec's frustrated reformers. While the older reformers could count on the student revolutionaries for support in removing oppressive regimes, the youth/student radicals could not be counted on to assist in establishing new power structures. While useful, radical youth could not be made to serve the purposes of the frustrated reformers.

In addition to having an imperfect relationship with the old left, the student movement also had an uneasy relationship with the new left. The new left was associated less with the traditional working class than with minority groups, including those oppressed both within and outside the West. In Quebec, the nationalist movement, using the rationalization of oppression from both within and without, was able to gain support of many in the student movement. Yet, while the student/youth movement could help raise public consciousness about the situation and oppression of various groups, its unpredictability, its vagueness, and its activism could also act to harm those causes. Ricard argues that student militancy in the 1960s did not have a specific program or goal, although it did wish to change the world.

Given that they had all of the rights, means, and freedoms they required to do whatever they wanted, the insubordination of the youth of the 1960s was not so much a demand for freedom, according to Ricard, but an expression of the freedom they already had. Their rebellion was an expression of their confidence and their knowledge that they could remake the world however they wished. Furthermore, their actions were bolstered by their generational solidarity. The individual members of the Lyric Generation had all the same cultural references and were well aware of their numbers and the power those numbers could wield. Within the crowd, the individual member was able to loose him/herself and become one with the rebellion of the generation as a whole.

Section 3: The Age of Reality

In the third and final section of the book, "The Age of Reality," Ricard explains how the arrival of the Lyric Generation to positions of power in the 1970s saw a continuation of their self assurance. The eternal youth of the 1960s, in which they were the most important members of society and a generation of young adults which was radically different from all which had come before, continued even as they turned 30 and 40. They confidently believed that their views were correct and now began to impose them upon society through both positions in the public and private spheres. In these positions of power - which the earlier generation quite easily gave over to the new, highly educated, confident, and energetic Lyric Generation - the new leaders assured themselves that the satisfaction of their wants and their happiness would fulfill the wants and happiness of all. Thus, in the case of the public service, which had supported policies and programs that largely benefitted the Lyric Generation in the 1960s, the government began investing in areas which were of importance to the aging baby boomers of the 1970s and 1980s. This included investments in health care, increased old age assistance which would remove the burden of caring for aging parents, a reduction in parts of the public sector which could be privatized, daycare, insurance, etc. Ricard emphasizes that the new programs and policies, especially measures designed to help the Lyric Generation of the future, were made for purely well-intentioned reasons. The Lyric Generation, convinced that it was central to the population, and that the community must reflect its own interests, sincerely believed that such changes would benefit all of society. In the 1980s, when the trend of state interventionism was replaced by neo-liberal notions about the role of the state, they also believed that a reduction in the size and scope of the government, as well as a reduction in one's tax burden, would benefit society as a whole. Although the Lyric Generation were those who benefitted most from the social programs of the 1960s and 1970s in Quebec, they were the first to accuse the state of being bloated, expensive, and ineffective. However, all such changes would not affect the jobs of the Lyric Generation, since their positions were well protected. It would only affect those who came after them.

Ricard argues that this ability of the Lyric Generation to abandon many of the policies and programs which they had supported and benefited from in the 1960s and 1970s was a result of the generation having changed their society into a truly modern society. Ricard defines the "modern," not as a particular attribute, or group of traits, but as a mistrust of all stable or inherited knowledge and information, and an attempt to replace it with something new. The modern rejects the eternal, always trying to replace it with new ideas which allegedly offer a better perspective of the world. For much of the twentieth century modern ideals were confined to philosophical thought and the arts. It was only with the rebelliousness of the baby boomers, and their innate desire to remake society, that it came to challenge aspects of most people’s daily lives. They acted through their newly acquired positions of power to eradicate the ideology and institutions of tradition wherever possible. However, while just as willing to remake society to reflect the latest modern ideology as they had been in the 1960s, the Lyric Generation of the 1970s and 1980s was following increasingly conservative ideologies.  Although one might argue that the Lyric Generation of the 1970s and 1980s had given up upon the ideals of the 1960s, failing to demand peace and the destruction of traditional power structures in their struggle to obtain wealth, power and status, Ricard claims that they simply exchanged one set of ideologies for another.

In discussing the Lyric Generation's demands for a less interventionist state in the late 1970s and 1980s, Ricard makes the odd claim that the Lyric Generation took a "postmodern" position of pure liberalism. For Ricard, the purely individualistic position, which did not care for the fate of society as a whole, was essentially postmodern. However, this is completely contrary to the view expressed by most postmodern writers. As Jean-François Lyotard explains in The Postmodern Condition, individualistic views, which give priority to the Self, constitute the imposition of a metanarrative. A postmodernist would recognize that all individuals have unique perspectives of the world, and that the privileging of one of those perspectives over others would result in what Lyotard refers to in The Differand, a "wrong." 

Finally, while demanding less government intervention, as well as less taxation, Ricard notes that the Lyric Generation has often used its wealth, resources, and power to conserve their youth. They have not needed to compromise their interests and acknowledge their place and role in the world. Instead, the Lyric Generation, with disposable income, job security, and a society which is constantly either changing for their needs/desires, or being changed by members of the generation, have been able to continue living as they had when they were young. They have maintained their spontaneity, their consumption of what were once luxury items but are now objects and ideas which they understand to be disposable, their dedication to change, progress, and the discovery of what is new. Yet, Ricard also argues that the Lyric Generation has been able to remain young forever because its members never recognized that they had to give up some of their freedoms. Their parents had created a situation where the Lyric Generation was raised without want. Having obtained control of their society without having to make any sacrifices, the Lyric Generation changed society to ensure that their youth would be perpetuated. Part of maintaining this eternal youth was through not fully becoming parents. Many of the Lyric Generation simply did not have children, or at least not on the scale of their parents. This allowed them to maintain their spontaneous, consumptive life style. Those that did have children would often raise them well, and even spoil them, but not to the extent that it would affect their own freedom to change and to fulfill themselves.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ryan Edwardson, Canadian Content: culture and the quest for nationhood, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008.

Ryan Edwardson's Canadian Content examines how throughout the twentieth century Ottawa avoided, participated in, and created various Canadian federal, and federally related, cultural programs and policies which were designed to instill Canadians with a sense of nationalism, and thus, ensure that the federation was bound together as a result of more than just historical accidents, tradition, or for economic means. These cultural policies and programs did not necessarily have the same ends and were advanced by individuals with often very different ideas of what Canada was or should be. What they shared was their common use of the same cultural tools (including the arts, publishing, radio and television broadcasting, film, and the academic world) to achieve their national construct. However, as Edwardson explains, these projects of Canadianization were essential for the survival of the country during a century which saw a rise in the saturation and power of mass media, demographic shifts in the age and ethnic composition of the population, the increasingly powerful influence of American popular culture, changes in the nature and results of Quebec nationalism, and new international trade patterns and trade agreements. Yet, while typically portrayed as being self-evident, Edwardson shows how each of these conceptions of Canada were shaped and promoted  by specific individuals, each of whom had particular and personal reasons for attempting to create a specific conception of Canada and Canadian culture.

As Edwardson explains, this process of Canadianization through culture was not always an easy task. The public, politicians, cultural producers and distributors, and various levels of government have had conflicting views over just what the Canadian nation was, what is or is not part of Canadian culture, and whether the state or anyone else should attempt to intervene so as to influence what, how, when, and why cultural products are produced. Economic, personal, and ideological interests competed in each case, the reasoning behind actions taken for the sake of the nation and those which were made for particular individuals often being difficult to discern.  That Canada is a construct, created to arrange people and natural resources, is not a new idea. However, what was new in some of these programs of Canadianization was the idea of replacing traditional privilege, or even economic domination, with civic rights, as well as consciously choosing to recognize diversity and progressive ideas over an exclusionary kind of nationalism. In the 1960s and early 1970s such ideas paralleled, and found support, among the progressive countercultural movement, which strove to remake society by removing all aggression, fear, and domination, as well as the structures which perpetuated those negative elements of society. Thus, the Canadianization projects of the 1960s which strove to remake Canada into a land of equality, social prosperity, and opportunities for freedom of expression found general support.

Reminding readers that nations states, such as Canada, only began to appear in the nineteenth century. Because of their being justified by ideas of nations, such states offered opportunities for certain individuals in positions of influence to impose their visions of a country while taking firm control of the political, social, and economic powers available in that country. Often formed of disparate groups, nation states and their leaders make use of myths, symbols, and other identifiers which work to create a feeling of compatriotism amongst the citizenry, and which is usually stronger than divisions of class, social standing, or money. However, as the composition of the population, and the forces affecting that population, change, the identifiers used to bind them together as a nation must also change. Edwardson argues that the twentieth century saw three main eras, or periods of change, in the development of ideas of the Canadian nation via cultural outlets. Each of these phases of the production and dissemination of national culture by and with the country’s intelligentsia have required state intervention because, as Edwardson explains, without such intervention the media by which it was to be dispersed was predisposed to disseminating cheaper, are reliably profitable American cultural content.

The first phase was what Edwardson terms “Masseyism,” after Vincent Massey, the chair of the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences. Prior to the establishment of the Massey Commission in 1949, Edwardson explains that, in addition to being a country of disparate cultural groups, located in several distinct regions with distinct histories, Canada of the early twentieth century was being heavily influenced by American cultural products which were becoming easily available via new technology. The development of cheap pulp periodicals, radio programs, and Hollywood films caused some Canadians to warn of the dangers that could result from a failure to control the amount of American culture Canadians consumed. As a young country which was increasingly gaining political and cultural independence from Britain, these nationalists believed that Canada's distinctive British -- and to a lesser extent, French -- heritage and morality could be jeopardized if the country simply allowed Canadians to be treated as an extension of the American cultural market. The educated, cultured, and enlightened nationalist elite claimed that the federal government needed to restrict the entry of American publications and films, create a national radio broadcasting regulator to control the content of the Canadian airwaves, and create means for Canadians to produce and access quality Canadian mass cultural content.

Apart from maintaining the National Gallery of Canada, which it had created in the late nineteenth century, the federal government of the early twentieth century played little role in the promotion or support of Canadian culture. Ottawa was reluctant to either, commit large amounts to fund cultural activities or institutions which many Canadians viewed as the preoccupations of the elite, or choose which cultural activities were worthy enough to be given federal funding. However, the nationalists were able to convince the federal government that it should exercise some control over the broadcast industry, a business sector which could be used very effectively to influence public views. Establishing the Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting in 1928, Ottawa followed the commission's recommendations in 1932 by creating the Canadian Broadcasting Commission, which was transformed into the CBC in 1936. After the election of 1930 the Bennett government placed restrictions on the sale of American magazines by imposing a tariff on advertisement-dense American publications, which in turn benefitted more content heavy Canadian publications. Ottawa also created the National Film Board in 1939 to make industrial, informational, and documentary films which could potentially compete with American films.

While these government measures were aimed at curbing the influence of American cultural products, nationalists, and the growing number of professional Canadian artists and professional artistic bodies, were unable to convince the federal government to increase its direct funding to Canadian artists. However, with the end of the Second World War and the federal government allocating new monies to various reconstruction and projects, the threat of the growing popularity of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and its social and cultural policies, as well as a need to properly justify the country's protectionist mass media interventionist policies, cultural nationalists were able to convince the Liberal government to establish a Royal Commission on the National Development in the Arts, Letters, and Sciences in 1949. Reporting in 1951, the Massey Commission, as it came to be known, provided a forum for like-minded cultural nationalists to argue for the federal government to offer funding to support a wide-range of cultural activities. It also advocated for the creation of an arm's length arts council to award grants and services to the arts, the Canada Council for the Arts established in 1957.

Yet, the kind of arts to be funded by the Canada Council and advocated by the commissioners, as well as by many of those who presented submissions to the Massey Commission, were not the popular arts, or folk handicrafts of many Canadians. Rather, the commission advocated increasing Canadians' exposure to formal arts. This elitist agenda was not readily embraced by many Canadians who, benefitting from the post-war economic boon, were content to consume the popular American mass entertainment that was easily available to them in the form of television, films, novels, and music. Available to Canadian cultural retailers at lower prices than Canadian content, it was in the interest of many Canadian merchants and distributors to lobby Ottawa not to interfere in such a prosperous market.

However, some cultural industries took advantage of the Masseyite agenda for civilizing the country by arguing that a mix of free-enterprise and government intervention would both produce Canadian content and financially profit the country. In 1959 private television broadcasters successfully lobbied the federal government to determine their own programming, without the oversight of the CBC, and thus allowing them to show more American content. In exchange, the broadcasters agreed to produce and show specific quotas of Canadian content. The station owners argued that the quota system would ensure the production of Canadian material.

In the film industry, Ottawa rejected the call of the Association of Motion Picture Producers and Laboratories of Canada in 1959 for Ottawa to impose a quota system on the film industry and to end the NFB's monopoly on producing films for the federal government. Unable to impose a film quota, Ottawa did create the Canadian Film Development Corporation in 1967 to assist in the production of Canadian films.

The calls of the publishing industry for some form of government control over the entry of American material into the Canadian market were backed by the 1961 report of the Royal Commission on Publications. The government agreed with their calls for tax breaks for advertisers who purchased domestic advertizing in domestic magazines. However, when the relevant legislation was passed in 1964, the two largest American periodicals (Time and Reader's Digest) were exempted as a result of American pressure regarding the soon-to-be-ratified Auto Pact, as well as Canadian desire to appease its largest trading partner following years of hostility between the Diefenbaker and Kennedy administrations.

While these cultural policies of the 1960s did assist in limiting the amount of American content to which Canadians were exposed, many Canadian cultural producers were still frustrated that their work was still not being supported and/or distributed by media companies which were more interested in screening, broadcasting, or printing as much imported material as possible. Such frustration would help lead a new nationalist movement in the 1960s that shared many of the same opinions concerning the ruling social, economic, and political elites held by the new, ideological popular culture and its calls for the end to all forms of oppression. As the counter culture movement called for an end to social, political, and economic structures and standards which helped to maintain the domination of various national and international groups over others, new cultural commentators of the 1960s began calling for Canadians to reclaim their national sovereignty from external influences through the production and consumption of domestic cultural products. Along with the university/youth activists who were willing to protest American imperialism in Canada and around the world, the new nationalists attempted to voice concern over, not only the large amount of American cultural products to which Canadians were exposed, but the large amount of American investment which had entered Canada, especially since the end of the war. The new nationalists wished to reclaim Canada as a socialist-leaning, multicultural, country of equality. This program did not match the older Masseyite conception of Canada being a country of two "races" with British structural foundations, nor did it match that of the Liberal party's continentalist project, designed to attract American investment.

This new nationalism of the 1960s was fed by the independent-minded/patriotic sentiments created by the 1967 Canadian Centennial celebrations, the international countercultural movement, and a growing number of Canadian nationalist minded academics and intellectuals, many of whom were warning that the federal government's Continentalist- minded policies  were causing Canada to lose  economic, political, and cultural sovereignty. These new nationalists were protectionist and independent-minded. They wanted to reclaim their country and build something that was more progressive and inclusive than had existed before. Faced with the threat of Quebec nationalism, the growing  non-British and non-French immigrant population, and pressure from the socialist leaning   New Democratic Party, the minority Liberal government  of Lester B. Pearson responded by not only increasing  the country's safety social net, but began to introduce policies and programs which would  result in Canada  lessening  the emphasis placed upon its British heritage. These changes were only reinforced with the election of Pierre Trudeau in 1968. Under the Trudeau government there was a shift from ethnic to civic nationalism which was seen most strikingly with the 1971 declaration that Canada was an officially multicultural country, an announcement which abandoned the findings of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism  that most Canadians were essentially defined by being either French or English (the distinction between language and familial heritage often being blurred). This traditional view of a bicultural Canada had been shared by the Massey-ites, who had wished Canadian cultural production to celebrate and protect these distinctive  characteristics of the cultures of the two founding "races". In addition, to members of the New Democratic Party and left-leaning elements of the Liberal Party ( who eventually formed the core of the Trudeau government), some of the more  prominent new nationalists included the economist Walter Gordon,  Melville Watkins, Abraham Rotstein, James Laxer, Jack  McClelland, Mel Hurtig,  Peter C. Newman, Margaret Atwood, and Robin Mathews.

While they themselves were often the products of traditional cultural institutions, these new nationalists argued that Canada's cultural sovereignty could only be protected by freeing cultural production from elite domination, particularly the Anglo-centric elite. Only in this way could Canadians create unique cultural products  to be consumed by Canadians, and which would differentiate Canadians from the culturally hegemonic United States. What was important was no longer exposing Canadians to  elite culture, but exposing them to, and allowing them to create, cultural  products  with which they could identify, and  thus, reflected their particular situation as Canadians living in Canada.

The new nationalists recognized that, in order to have access to Canadian cultural productions, the cultural broadcast, production, and distribution industry would need to be forced to provide the population with access to books, films, and broadcasts which were likely to offer less revenue than imported cultural products.  Although some quotas on Canadian cultural content did exist, the new nationalists held that such quotas needed to be both increased and expanded to include the whole range of cultural industries, including radio, television, film, publishing, theater, music, museums, and galleries. This expansion of Canadian content regulations would not only expose more Canadians to Canadian cultural productions, but, it was hoped, would also increase their interest in, and desire to consume, Canadian cultural products. The end result of this exposure was to be a stronger, independent, and culturally confident Canadian society.

The new Trudeau government of 1968 was keenly aware of the potential of using its federal funding and regulatory powers to meet the demands of many of the cultural nationalists, and in turn, potentially stabilize the country.  The Trudeau Liberals had taken advantage of the new nationalist sentiment in the country, as well as its close association with the country’s demographically significant young population, to win the election of 1968. Once in power, the Liberals recognized that the support of distinctively Canadian cultural activities could be used to counter the threat of Quebec separatism, and could also be used to help integrate Canada's growing non-English and non-French population into the country's existing social, political, and economic situation. However to promote such cultural activities required the increased regulation  and funding of cultural production,  changes to the states relationship with its cultural industry that would become the focus of critics of Trudeau's governments for decades to come. This change in the federal government's relationship with Canada's cultural production industry marks the third phase in Edwardson's history of  Ottawa's relationship with Canadian culture. While seemingly designed to promote the ideas of the new nationalists of the 1960s, what Edwardson terms as “cultural industrialism” was and alteration to how success in cultural production was measured. Whereas the new nationalists focused upon increasing Canadians interest in cultural products produced by fellow Canadians, and thus in cultural products that in some way reflected their own lives rather than the lives of foreigners whom Canadians were being encouraged to emulate, cultural industrialism attempted to measure the strength of Canadian nationhood through the productive and economic success of Canadian cultural industries. The result, as Edwardson argues, is a situation where the quantity and not the quality of cultural content is the measure of success, and where whole industries have been created and sustained by government subsidies that are based upon  how much cultural content of a particular kind is produced and not upon whether that content actually benefits Canadians' understanding of themselves and their place in the world.

In order to implement Canada's first comprehensive cultural policies, the Trudeau government took advantage of the existing federal cultural institutions which had been established during the previous phases of the federal government's involvement with Canadian culture. The Canadian broadcasting Corporation, the National Film Board of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Canadian Film Development Corporation, and several other  cultural institutions    and organizations were martialed  by the office of the Secretary of State to  increase the production and dissemination of Canadian cultural content. This new approach to supporting Canadian culture, as outlined in the federal government's 1968 Arts and Cultural Policy, was aimed at strengthening Canadian federalism. Where possible, Ottawa imposed quotas on the amount of Canadian content cultural bodies had to produce, and in areas where it lacked jurisdiction the federal government created and subsidized  new cultural institutions and programs which would accomplish the desired cultural production goals.

Most Canadians who wished the federal government to play a leading role in cultural development enthusiastically supported these measures, as did the growing number of people working in Canada's cultural industries. However, in order to encourage those within Canada's cultural industries to continue producing distinctly Canadian content, or at least content which qualified under the federal government's criteria as being Canadian enough, Canadian culture was being commodified and produced only if it was profitable with or without government assistance. Although the calls of the new nationalists for an independent Canadian cultural movement declined during the 1970s with the introduction of government policies that appeared to fulfill their demands, the way in which Canadian cultural products were being produced did not meet their original demands for supporting Canadian cultural productions that reflected the life and culture of Canadians. By having the federal government decide what did and did not qualify as Canadian content, a strategy which had been designed to increase and encourage Canadian cultural production, Ottawa was dictating what was Canadian cultural content, and thus who Canadians were supposed to be. Yet, the national and international success of the institutions, organizations, and companies that benefited from the government's cultural production support, only led the civil servants and politicians directing the programs and policies to believe that they had been successful. Furthermore, given the national and international success  and profitability of the kinds of Canadian cultural productions which Ottawa had encouraged since the late 1960s,  by the 1980s the federal government  began reducing the amount of support it gave to  creating Canadian cultural production  opportunities and began encouraging private investment in the creation of Canadian cultural content. This reduction in federal funding was especially noticeable with the ascendancy of Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservative government in 1984. Thus, while the demands of the new nationalists to increase Canadian cultural content had been, and were continuing to be, fulfilled, the cultural products that were being produced were only being created if they were both profitable and considered to be acceptable Canadian content by federal regulators, cultural production companies/organizations, and their private funders. As Edwardson argues in the introduction to his book, while the federal government  could point to high levels of employment, investment, and profitability in Canada's cultural production sector as evidence of the vibrancy of Canadian culture, "industrial activity cannot be equated with culture, a national sense of self, or even opportunities for domestic expression...."  While government intervention had initially been justified to counter  profitable imported cultural influences, by the 1980s the federal government believed that federal funding could be redirected from public cultural institutions if those institutions or other organizations can profitably produce content which officially qualifies as "Canadian."

Although Edwardson’s book does focus upon the participation of the federal government in Canadian cultural production since the 1940s, Edwardson is clear in his assertion that the new nationalists of the 1960s and 1970s had called for what he seems to describe as cultural policies which were truly designed to benefit Canadians socially. In the introduction to the text he refers to these nationalists as “activists” who, along with other activists of the period fought to have their government take steps which “led to significant gains in confronting environmental exploitation, altering capital accumulation with a goal of wider social prosperity, and ensuring opportunities for expression that offered little or no profit to the distributor but much to the public in terms of social good.” However, because of how success was measured, as well as a rationale that successful projects did not require direct funding, the opportunities for Canadians to create and consume less popular forms of cultural products decreased. While initiated in response to the calls of the new nationalists, the existing federal cultural support programs are not supporting the development of Canadian culture in the manner the new nationalist activists had hoped for.