Praise Canada, Blame Canada

The only thing more unlikely than a sitcom about a community of Muslims in a small Canadian prairie town is said comedy becoming a hit and being sold to a French TV channel.

Soon Parisians, the Swiss and French-speaking Africans will be able to see the dubbed antics of the residents of Mercy, Saskatchewan. The show itself is amusing and genteel, lightly poking fun at the misunderstanding between the locals and a congregation of Muslims who set up a mosque in a church basement. It is not an edgy comedy like some hoped and feared, but an easy-going look at how we’re basically all the same. Aw shucks.

But it is that message that appealed to French broadcaster Canal Plus, who saw the positive message as something that the French ought to hear. "They really feel that, given all of the difficulties that France has had in the past year with diversity issues, that they want as many people to see the show as possible," said Mary Darling of Westwind Pictures, the Toronto-based company that produces Little Mosque, to the Canadian Press.

I don’t know if the show can create the kind of understanding they are hoping for, but it certainly can’t hurt. Racial tolerance is easy, comedy is hard.

Speaking of Canadian imports, not everyone is pleased with the cultural exports of my fellow citizens. Canada is a hotbed of movie piracy, according to Hollywood studios and Warner Bros. is having no more of it – canceling all advance screenings of its films.

Warner prez Dan Fellman says about 70 per cent of its films over the past 18 months have been camcorded illegally while showing in Canada. "If we do previews and promotional screenings and radio promotions, we're going to have a pirated copy around the world before the movie opens in many countries," said Fellman.

I‘m shocked to hear that people were recording at preview screenings as the last few I attended were truly onerous affairs. Your bags were searched before entering the theatre and multiple security guards starred at you with night vision goggles throughout the movie. Of course canceling the screenings will just delay the inevitable by two or three days. Perhaps it is just an admission that these word of mouth campaigns have little value as most people have already heard about new films though online sites. The internet giveth and the internet taketh away.


  1. Of course, and I noted, they make it sound like the people doing the recording are brazon about it... like they aren't trying to hide it because it isn't illegal to do so.

  2. AnonymousMay 10, 2007

    That's great news for Little Mosque! WOOHOO!