Say No To Bill C-10

It’s astonishing, really.  A misguided religious leader has the ears of some prominent Canadian Conservative politicians and, poof, the future of an entire entertainment industry suddenly looks bleak.
Charles McVety is the head of the Canadian Family Action Coalition, an evangelical organization, and has been the president of the Canada Christian College, based in Toronto, for 15 years.  (His late father, Elmer, founded it in 1967.  It was originally called Richmond College.  It switched to the current name in 1974.)  That name might be familiar to you if you followed any or all of the gay marriage controversy a couple of years ago.  (He’s against it and became part of another religious group, The Defend Marriage Coalition, which has been fighting unsuccessfully to repeal the amendment to The Civil Marriage Act that allows homosexual couples to tie the knot.)  Recently, he’s taking credit for a proposed amendment to the Income Tax Act.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, a measure is being considered that would give the federal government more legal criteria to deny tax breaks for Canadian filmmakers and their productions, even after being approved for funding.
The basic gist of it is this.  If the amendment passes, the government, through its Heritage Ministry (which oversees funding for the Canadian entertainment industry), can disqualify productions from receiving tax credits if these programs and films contain excessive violence, overly explicit sexual content not associated with sex education, anything deemed “not in the public interest”, according to The Toronto Star, “or denigration of an indentifiable group”, according to The Globe & Mail.  In other words, after receiving the funding to make a TV show or motion picture, these entertainments have to avoid falling into these traps or the filmmakers’ tax breaks disappear.
Stupid.  For a minority Conservative government with a horrible reputation for secrecy and ill concern for bad legislation (remember the Clean Air Act fiasco?), this isn’t the kind of reaction they need right now.  Pandering to a very small group of nervous nellies to score some cheap political points is a foolish gesture, the kind that assures a return to the Opposition benches.  Liberals should be salivating at this golden opportunity to get back on track.  A more nonsensical proposal you could not find.
I don’t need to explain why Bill C-10 is a horrible idea.  My friend, Bill Brioux of The Canadian Press speaks for many with his comments about the matter here.  What I wil say is that a movement of protest is quickly building between the entertainment trade unions, film and TV companies, and everybody else with the good sense and common decency to realize what’s truly at stake here.  If you’re on Facebook, you can join the group, “Keep your censoring hands off of Canadian film and TV! No to Bill C-10!” here.  (Almost 5000 members, as of this writing.)  You can also write your MP and contact the Heritage Ministry directly to voice your concerns.
More importantly, write letters to the editor of your favourite newspaper, leave comments on blogs (including this one), do anything and everything you can to assure that we will still have the freedom to create entertainment that isn’t always family friendly.  The more voices who loudly join the opposition to this bill, the better.  The alternative is not an option.
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, March 1, 2008
12:21 a.m.
UPDATE:  Bill Brioux has a story on the anti-Bill C-10 Facebook group here.  The Dead Things On Sticks blog has more on today’s developments here.
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, March 1, 2008
1:55 a.m.
Published in: on March 1, 2008 at 12:21 am  Leave a Comment  

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