|In September of 1999, a copy of the following letter was sent to over 150 Canadian card companies so that they, their artists and suppliers could sign it and send it on to the then Minister of Canadian Heritage, Sheila Copps.
The Honourable Sheila Copps
Minister of Canadian Heritage
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Dear Ms. Copps:
This letter is to inform you that I believe steps need to be taken by the Canadian Heritage Ministry to increase the amount of Canadian content in the Canadian Greeting Card industry.
At present, two US subsidiaries, Carlton Cards and Hallmark Cards, control 75% of the greeting card market and effectively shut Canadian businesses out of the card sections in more than 10,000 retail chain outlets where most card buying happens. Approximately 150 Canadian publishers and distributors compete for the remaining 25% of the card market and one third of the cards they sell, just 8-10% of total card sales, are the work of Canadian painters, photographers, writers, cartoonists and other artists.
In the sea of multinational sameness that has swept the globe, being able to see our place reflected back to us from the marketplace helps to strengthen our sense of uniqueness, our connection to our land, and our feeling of community. We need this. For many people, the card aisle is the place in a busy day where they take some time to reflect and concentrate on their feelings. Our own words and images should be a part of that experience. However, like Canadian music before CanCon, neither the merits of our work nor its salability mean much. Not when Carlton & Hallmark can lock up the distribution channels and leave us to scramble in the margins.
Like Canadian film, television, music, books and magazines, we want our industry to be recognized for the contribution that it makes to Canadian culture. We also want support, just as the other cultural industries are supported. Specifically, we want Canadian content regulations, along the lines of those that have helped the Canadian music industry to grow and mature over the past many years.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Signed the_____ day of__________, 1999.