The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports.Are competition and the promotion of Canadian culture compatible goals? The Canadian Cable Television Association (CCTA) believes they are, and it’s hoping to convince the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage that both can be achieved through a re-writing of the Broadcasting Act (see story on page 1). Re-opening legislation is never a pleasant task. Once opened, every word and clause in the law is open to scrutiny and pressure to have it eliminated or changed. In the case of the Broadcasting Act, supporters of the status quo will point out that the legislation was designed to be technologically neutral, and as such, the emergence of new technologies and new competitors shouldn’t matter. The act, they will argue, is flexible.  But the legislation was drafted at a time when monopolies dominated the Canadian broadcasting landscape. Producers, programmers and distributors all agree that our system is now competitive. But nowhere in the Broadcasting Act will you find consumer choice listed among what the government deems to be in the public interest. Legislators updated the Telecommunications Act in 1993 because they recognized that monopoly principles are out of synch with a competitive environment. They also wanted to ensure the CRTC had the ability to both promote and manage competition in the best interests of the Canadian public. This month, the Heritage committee will begin wading through dozens of submissions as it begins its 18-month review of the Broadcasting Act and the CRTC. The CCTA’s call for greater reliance on market forces will be but one viewpoint the committee members will consider. Others will warn that radical change will threaten the very fabric of Canadian culture. The great irony in this review is that in the end, it may not matter. New technologies are empowering consumers to watch whatever programming they want, and when they want. Outdated regulations like tiering and linkage only invite consumers to look elsewhere to exercise their freedom to choose. Promoting Canadian content on radio, television and the Internet must continue to be a priority of the government. But to do so by restricting consumer choice is destined to fail.