Really trying not to write about Bill C-10 everyday but it is the issue that won't go away. Thinking of legally changing my name to Bill "C-10" Brioux--if I can get a tax credit.
I really think the favorable world view of Canada as a tolerant society--especially in the area of the arts--is what is being threatened here. If we are to take the Minister of Heritage at her word, the government should be "deeply committed to freedom of expression and will continue to support the creation of edgy, entertaining Canadian content."
Even if that content satirizes and ridicules the government. Check out Rick Mercer's blog for a typically cheeky, ponted bit of fun, supposedly from the desk of Stephen Harper. Says Mercer's pseudo-Harper: "I see the future my friends and it's starring Anne of Green Gables."
Satire is welcome at this point but Martin Knelman drills down a little deeper today in the Toronto Star. In an article entitled, "No tax guidelines, no worries, right?" Knelman, who sees this controversy as "a head-on collision of tax reform and film censorship," asks where are these mysterious guidelines that are supposed to be used to judge "material that God-fearing moralists might find offensive"? Seems the secretary to the Heritage Minister suddenly can't find them.
As mentioned here on earlier postings, lobby groups have held up Canadian film festival entries such as Young People F***ing as examples of how the arts community needs a moral correction. For a very persuasive and reasoned overview of how Bill C-10 won't really change anything--one way or the other--go here to "The Legion of Decency." Newmarket-based screenwriter Jim Henshaw argues that, despite the big bow taken by lobby groups like the "Family Coalition," the last minute tax credit amendment won't even address the astounding flow of pornography that spews forth every night and on demand on Canadian cable and satellite carriers. Where are the church leaders and government watchdogs on this issue?
"If your elected representatives really wanted to do something about 'smut'," writes Henshaw, "they'd go after Jim [Shaw] and Ted [Rogers] and somebody at Bell. But they don't. In fact, if you check the donations made to all those politicians making sure no tax money goes toward producing pornography, you'll find they've all received significant contributions from Jim and Ted and that guy at Bell -- money that comes from the very 'art' your MP says he doesn't want to support."
It's a very good point. All this contentious amendment in Bill C-10 will do it create content headaches and more paperwork for Canadian producers trying to tell stories against a tidal wave of American programming. It won't deter or in any way effect all this objectionable programming that is imported.
I once wrote in The Toronto Sun that, if you turn on The Movie Network any night past midnight, you can see hard core pornography--far exceeding anything allowed in the United States. I think the phrase I used back then was that you could see "more stiff members than on the Parliamentary channel."
Would that some of those stiff members would rise up and thrust themselves into this debate, especially Liberal senators who have the option of sending this sucker back to Parliament and making it the big fat election issue it is already fast becoming.
UPDATE: Hello--Liberal senators indeed took up the cause today. See "Senate Liberals vow to protect film industry from government bill," Joan Bryden's CP story in today's Globe and Mail.
By the way, that "Keep your censoring hands off Canadian film and TV" Facebook site? Past the 25,000 member mark this afternoon.