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The Tangled Garden
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The Tangled Garden

A Canadian Cultural Manifesto for the Digital Age

By Richard Stursberg, With Stephen Armstrong

$24.95 Paperback
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$14.95 Ebook
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The emergence of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google (the FAANGs) has created an unprecedented challenge to Canada's news, television and film businesses. In this book Richard Stursberg offers a brief account — often based on his insider's experience — of how Canada's cultural industries were built. And he explains that independent Canadian media and cultural industries are unlikely to survive due to the large share of ad dollars and audience attention captured by the big digital media companies.

Faced with similar challenges, many governments around the world have responded by protecting and strengthening their national cultural life. Canada stands out for its passivity. Richard Stursberg identifies the path that would assure a strong continued news media, and a reasonable share of audiences for Canadian creative work. He warns that time for action is short, and many more media outlets will soon disappear, like the thirty-six newspapers shut down by the Toronto Star-Postmedia deal in 2017.

Richard Stursberg's knowledge and experience across a wide range of cultural organizations in Canada make this an important and informative book on a topic of vital significance. At the same time this is an engaging account for any reader who wants to continue to enjoy Canadian stories and hear Canadian voices in the media and on our screens.



  1. The Current Crisis
  2. Creating the Garden
  3. Expanding the Garden: The Mulroney Years
  4. Watering the Garden: The Chrétien Liberals
  5. The Garden Invaded: The Harper Years
  6. The Sleepy Gardeners: The Justin Trudeau Years
  7. The Manifesto





Stursberg and I were on different sides of more than a few arguments when he was my boss at the CBC but he never shied away from pushing his beliefs. Forcefully. In The Tangled Garden he lays out his view of how the Canadian media landscape is in serious trouble — how it got there, who's to blame and what can be done to save it. This book is important — every Canadian who cares about the future of the country should read it.

- Peter Mansbridge, former anchor and chief correspondent, CBC News

Not so much a manifesto as a rant. Great cultural institutions of Canada are at risk. This book gives us hope but time is short. Read, discuss and get angry.

- Rick Mercer, Canadian comedian and former host of The Rick Mercer Report

Once again, Richard Stursberg brings his large brain and knowledge of the sector to the business of ensuring Canadian culture survives today's tidal wave of global content. She who dares read it, wins an extraordinary view of the terrifying trajectory of Canadian cultural policy!

- Catherine Tait, CBC President and CEO

A breezy, yet deeply informative chronicle of Canada's cultural policy ... Tangled Garden pulls back the curtain, giving readers an insider account into the room where it happened.

- Hill Times

"This book is a late-in-the-day wake-up call and its main message deserves to be included in any serious public policy discussion."

- The Philanthropist

This crisp and witty survey of the construction of Canadian cultural protections in the postwar years and their decimation by digitization makes for bracing reading ... The Tangled Garden is indispensable.

- Kate Taylor Globe and Mail

The former CEO of almost every major Canadian cultural institution including the CBC is convincing: as a country, we have forgotten our past success in building robust business models of conventional media that produced news, information, sports and entertainment.


RICHARD STURSBERG is a leading expert on Canadian media and culture, and an experienced cultural executive. He has served as Assistant Deputy Minister of Culture and Broadcasting in the federal government, president of the Canadian Cable Television Association, President of Starchoice and Cancom, chairman of the Canadian Television Fund, executive director of Telefilm Canada, and head of English language services at the CBC. He has been a board member of the Canadian Film Centre and the Banff Television Festival. His book on his experience at the CBC, The Tower of Babble, was named one of the best books of 2012 by the Globe and Mail. He currently advises various Canadian media companies and sits on the boards of Hollywood Suite and Digital Media at the Crossroads. He lectures at the Ryerson/York graduate program on media policy and is the President of PEN Canada. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

STEPHEN ARMSTRONG is a leading Canadian broadcasting industry consultant and researcher. His experience with Canadian broadcasting policy and regulatory issues spans over four decades as a public servant with the Government of Ontario and the CRTC and subsequently, as a consultant to many of Canada's leading communications companies, industry associations and governments. He has authored numerous studies on issues relating to the economic structure and performance of the Canadian broadcasting industry and regularly appears before the CRTC as an expert witness. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 224 pages
Publication Date: 9th April 2019
ISBN: 9781459413283
Format: 9in x 6in
10 tables and graphs

Binding: Electronic book text, 224 pages
Publication Date: 9th April 2019
ISBN: 9781459413290
Format: EPUB
10 tables and graphs

BISAC Code:  BUS070060, POL038000, POL056000, SOC052000
Imprint: Lorimer


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