HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Is Canada's Tourism Going to Pot?
Pubdate: Tue, 06 Aug 2002
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2002 Globe Newspaper Company
Page: E1
Author: Alex Beam, Globe Columnist
Cited: Pot-TV
Bookmark: (Kubby, Steve)


Not for the first time, Canada has embarked on a tourism-promotion
binge intended to lure Americans to the land of the maple leaf and
cheap prescription drugs. Canadian travel ads never fail to amuse. My
favorite, which I spotted in a glossy magazine about six months ago,
depicted a dreamy Newfoundland seascape bathed in radiant sunshine.

I know they can do anything with photographs these days, but a fogless
day in ''Shipping News'' country is as rare as a pro-George Bush
editorial in the mainstream Canadian press.

With a touch of cynicism - or is it realism? - Canada's
government-funded Tourism Commission raised its US marketing budget by
more than 50 percent this year, figuring that post-Sept. 11, American
travelers would not stray far from home. By 2003, the commission
figures, Americans will be jetting off to Tuscany again, barring any
new terrorist attacks.

As I do almost every year, I spent a week of my summer in Nova Scotia,
one of the provinces that constitute Atlantic Canada. (The others are
New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and - good luck finding it in the
fog - Newfoundland.) The provinces spent about $12 million advertising
themselves to New Englanders this year, with mixed results. ''We just
are not getting the numbers we need,'' columnist Sandra Porteous wrote
in the Halifax Daily News last week. Worried that Atlantic Canada is
being improperly marketed to stay-at-home rubes in Maine and New
Hampshire, Porteous suggested: ''Maybe our only hope is to target
cities - and to be blunt.''

I think I can help. Here are a few modest proposals for Canadian
tourism promotions that will really work:

Canada is Cannabis Country!

You bet! There are 30,000 ''grow houses'' in the Vancouver area alone,
puffing up what is said to be a $6 billion local industry. A special
police unit called Growbusters raided about 600 homes last year, but
arrested only 200 people. Judges deal gently with most offenders,
letting them walk with a $2,500 fine, about one percent of their
estimated yearly revenue.

So it should come as no surprise that the United States' No. 1
''reefer refugee'' makes his home in British Columbia. Steve Kubby,
who suffers from adrenal cancer, was busted for owning 200 marijuana
plants in California in 1999, and fled to a town about an hour north
of Vancouver with his wife and two children. He now produces content
for the Web site Pot-TV ( ) and is seeking political

Visit Canada, the Land of No-Oz!

How do they get by? I learn from the National Post, one of the
country's two magnificent national dailies (the other being the
Toronto Globe and Mail) that most Canadians can't watch such shows as
''The Osbournes,'' MTV's ''Jackass,'' and Fox's ''The O'Reilly
Factor'' because of restrictions imposed by the government's
Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. This has nothing
to do with content - there is plenty of American bilge in the Canadian
ether - but involves regulations about using government airwaves to
retransmit US cable signals.

So the ostensible good news for Canadians is that the over-the-air CTV
channel will start broadcasting ''The Osbournes'' this fall. The bad
news, of course, is that the Osbournes are about as hot as last week's
donair (spiced lamb on a spit) in Digby. ''The Osbourne backlash has
begun,'' Entertainment Weekly reported on the same day that CTV
trumpeted its cool new fall lineup. So it goes, eh?

Canada - We're Becoming a Lot Like You!

Imagine my un-surprise to read that Ontario's Kevin Moore was thinking
of suing the city of Halifax because a cut on his leg had become
infected after he fell into the water near the city's harbor. It's not
about the money, Mr. Moore told a reporter, it's the principle of the
thing. As Bob Dole said in a very different context - he was
eulogizing Richard Nixon at his funeral - how American.

Of course, the marketing types will never get around to selling the
truth about Canada, which is possibly the most civilized country in
the English-speaking world. So I have adopted my own promotional
slogan, primarily for personal use: Canada - a nice place for me to
visit. But do me a favor and stay away. 
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