SHOULD POLITICIANS DECIDE ON FILM CONTENT?

Heritage Minister Josee Verner is pushing Bill C-10 which would end federal tax credits for Canadian film productions that are “contrary to public policy.” In practise this means that films that are loaded with sex and violence could not be financed with taxpayer’s money.

The entertainment industry says this is censorship pure and simple. The industry argues that taxpayer dollars should be denied only to those productions that violate the criminal code of Canada – those that contain child pornography or hate material, for instance.

However Real Women (a right wing Catholic group) maintains that films depicting sex and violence can still be made, they just cannot be made with taxpayer’s money. Another women’s group suporting Bill C-10 pointed out the film, American Pyscho, that was considered a how-to manual for convicted serial killer pual Bernardo. received $120,000 in tax credits.

A Civil Liberties group says Bill C-10 is an “arbitrary and unjustified limit on expression” that would give the government powers that were almost unlimited.

That’s the rub. Who would decide whether a film seeking public money is “contrary to public policy”? It would be decided in the office of the minister. Should a politicians have that kind of power over film production?

On the other hand, should taxpayer’s money be used to make films that are grossly sexual and violent?

Why not use the Criminal Code to protect Canadians from pornography etc? Why put a politician in the mix?

What do you think?

14 Comments »

  1. 1
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    The right wing canadian christian right is in power in Canada. What else do you exspect? The polls say we are heading towards more of the same. Get used to it. Some day our canadian citizens will arrive to the year 1960, have their quiet revolution and get rid of Harper who would make proud our good old Maurice Duplessis.

  2. 2
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “The right wing canadian christian right is in power in Canada.”

    Really? I hadn’t noticed… I mean, there are SOME crazies in the CPC (stockwell – the earth is 6000 years old – day for one!) but I hadn’t noticed them governing that way.

    Do you have any examples?

  3. 3
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    The law Neil writes about in this blog, the law and order agenda seeking ever more stringent controls on almost everything, the immigration bill hidden, the US way, in the budget bill, I guess digging a little more would flush out a few others.

  4. 4
    Joe Agnost Says:

    When you said “canadian christian right” I assumed that meant the injection of religion into politics… I don’t see it.

    “The law Neil writes about in this blog”

    This one isn’t really religious in nature… trying to end tax payers funding smut is just good sense (not that I agree with the bill – I think there are already checks and balances in place to prevent smut from getting funding now).

    “the law and order agenda”

    I don’t see any religious aspect here… it’s pretty right-wing though, I’ll give you that.

    “seeking ever more stringent controls on almost everything”

    Like what?

    “the immigration bill hidden”

    Huh?

    “the US way”

    What does this mean?? I don’t see anything remotely “US” about our gov’t.

  5. 5
    Chimera Says:

    It seems to me that there are two separate issues, here — movie making and taxpayer dollars.

    Politicians should stay outa the movie business. Unless laws are being broken, I don’t want any government interference in the process. We are not yet a soviet state, and I’d like to think we can keep us from becoming one.

    But WTF are taxpayer dollars doing in the movie business? Get that public money out of there! The minute any business starts accepting funds from alien sources, that business has agreed to interference and pay-back. Government has always proved to be a bad business partner!

    Tax credits, if that’s the only “funding” going on, should be the end of the involvement from the government. They’re an incentive to a company to set up shop in an area and boost its economy by doing business there. That’s where it should end, unless laws are being broken. It’s already a quid pro quo arrangement. No need for the business to allow the government any further input.

  6. 6
    jim Says:

    Movies today and government book awards tomorrow

  7. 7
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    And then, what? No civilized nation in the 21st century could go down that path.

  8. 8

    Agree with Chimera. Governments should stay out. And I would submit it’s not just right-wingers. The idea of interventionism comes from the left. So picking on Harper is rubbish. The left want to censor just as much – in fact, they outright trample on civil liberties too. Ah but therein lies the rub: they do it for the collective good! Please.

    It’s sad when the government becomes the main driver of the arts and entrepreneurship. Remember when that artist got funding to make art out of, um, poo? I would have love to see if the free market would have given it.

    Only in Canada – and possibly Europe. Or any other place that depends on the government for a signal on how to live.

    Give me liberty or perish.

    One day Canada will return to its original roots. One day…

  9. 9
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Not that I am an expert on it but haven’t Canadian content laws — which have been in existance for decades — also been dictating what goes into what we hear on the radio, see on television, and what we look at on the movie screen?

    I seem to recall that the MacKenzie Brothers skit from the old SCTV comedy series was a satire (and unintended success) created by that comedy team because some higher-up at the CBC told them that there wasn’t enough Canadian content on their show.

    So when Paul Costopoulos writes “The right wing canadian christian right is in power in Canada. What else do you exspect?” I wonder whether he has felt the same about Canadian Content laws?

    What about the rest of you who have been saying that the government should stay out of determining what we see and hear in entertainment: do you also feel that way about Canadian content laws? Or is it just the content that you LIKE that can be dictated by government and the content you don’t like should not be?

    Oh, and by the way, Neil: “American Psycho” was made in 2000 and the Bernardo killings were, I believe, in the early ’90s…so you must be thinking of another movie that served as his inspiration for the killings.

  10. 10
    Chimera Says:

    Tony, I loathe the CRTC and its buttinsky “Canadian content” regulations — all of them. Canadian talent that is any talent would have come through just fine, and I wouldn’t have to sift through drek from Celine Dion to get to the soaring vocals of k. d. lang.

    “One day Canada will return to its original roots.”

    How odd. I’m beginning to feel like a bottle blonde.

  11. 11

    Tony, I second that: I loathe Canadian content rules. It devalues Canadian art. Let it float out there.

    The CRTC are a bunch of unelected mafiosi. I shiver at the very notion that someone I didn’t elect decides what’s good for me.

    I also feel the CBC is an oxymoron. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation? Are you kidding me? It’s a corporation only when they go private. I don’t like the massive salaries these people make. I would like to see what the market would pay them. Yes, the CBC provides quality content but I want to see it go the route of Vermont ETV. You want to be public and offer quality? Solicit the public for help. It is ridiculous when the (former) President used to say “Toronto is our biggest market and we need to pander to that.” True, but you’re A PUBLIC “corporation” meant to serve ALL Canadians. You want to think like a “business” then privatize. In Canada, we want the cake and eat it too.

    Censorship in any form is wrong and it’s not up to the government to get involved.

  12. 12
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    When the Canadian Government is funding something it needs to be involved in its content, subject to opposition criticisim, whether it be Entertainment, Public Transportation, or Public Health.

    Privatization would be happy with half of this equation. They are very socialistic when it comes to costs and “Laisez faire” when it comes to profits.

  13. 13
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Before my retirement and our dollar going through the floor I suscribed to PBS. Should CBC/Radio-Canada become a Canadian PBS I would gladly part with some of my pension money to keep it afloat. However I doubt our canadian public would go for it.

  14. 14

    Paul, you’re probably right. It ties in to the assertion that Canadians don’t really support Canadian things freely.

    I support Vermont ETV.


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