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actions, such as voting behaviour, are shaped by television. Even if television is influential only at the margin, the changes it brings can be very important in first-past-the-post electoral systems, such as those of Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. If the institutions of television (and the other mass media) are not symmetrical with those of the nation-state's political system, then, it is assumed, television will transmit inappropriate signals to viewers, signals that do not fit the political system and, as viewers act politically, are in turn

pressure. Except in rare cases where politicians may try to use groups to build political support for partisan ends, the legislature does not provide a route for group influence in Canadian politics. The fu- sion of power between the executive and the legislature combined with the rules of the “first-past-the-post” electoral system and the leader- driven nature of political parties means that most individual MPs do not have much influence in policymaking (Montpetit 2002; Smith 2005). Occasionally, groups may use MPs to capture media attention through, 270 Miriam

al- lowance encouraged parties to campaign more broadly and against the incentives of the first past the post electoral system that encourages parties to focus their campaign efforts in ridings that they can win (Fla- nagan 2010). Perhaps the allowance and the anticipation of a per-vote subsidy did encourage parties to seek votes everywhere rather than just in seats in winnable ridings. But falling national turnout figures suggest otherwise, and a closer examination of this thesis would re- quire a look at riding vote totals, local candidate expenditures, and

, albeit imperfectly, to citizen and consumer preferences. But market and political structures send contradictory signals. Unless the market is totally unresponsive to consumers, then importation of u.s. signals and programs for consumption by Canadian audiences surely indicates not just the ability of Canadian comprador capitalists in the cable and broadcasting industry to know a buck when they see one but also viewers' demand for such services. Unless the electoral system is a complete charade, the consistent nationalist emphasis of broadcasting policy and legislation

monarchy, Question Period in the House of Commons, the Senate, the electoral system - in- spire little loyalty and seem to exacerbate rather than soothe ach- ing regional and linguistic divisions. One of our greatest scholars, Northrop Frye, was fond of pointing out that Canada had taken a long time to sink roots, to explore its vast spaces and its different identities and voices, and to come together as a national commu- nity.51 The near-death experience of the 1995 Quebec referendum (it was at the very least a national nervous breakdown), and the sharp regional and