In my column for the National Post, I ask whether Canada faces a perpetual news deficit:
OTTAWA — Hot weather in Central Canada and early departures for the cottage pushed Canada into a significant news deficit in the second half of June, Statistics Canada reported Friday.
All told, Canada exported only one major news story in the second half of June: the UN Human Rights Council’s citation of Canada for its handling of Quebec student protests.
By contrast, Canada was a net importer of news from the Eurozone, the United States, and — for the 55th consecutive year — from the Middle East.
The month had opened very strongly, with a record-breaking surge in news exports.
“Global manhunt for Canadian porn-star cannibal” dominated news markets everywhere. Canada however could not sustain this one-time venture into the lurid dismemberment marketplace. International buyers showed little interest in a mass shooting in Toronto’s Eaton Centre, preferring to rely on their traditional supplier of mass-shooting news, the U.S. postal system.
After the month’s strong first week, the Canadian news supply industry tumbled into a deep slump.
News about the leader of the Parti Québécois first wearing — and then ceasing to wear — a small piece of red felt failed to excite consumers. A casual remark from a police official about too many 911 calls about dogs locked in cars generated some local news-manufacturing activity in the Greater Toronto Area, but the stimulus proved short-term, expiring within 24 hours.
Not even an amusingly candid email by a federal cabinet minister could overcome resistance from consumers who shifted their attention from disasters and massacres to swimming and boating.