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Protests Mount over C-10

The protests are beginning to mount over Bill C-10, which includes an overlooked provision that would allow the Canadian Heritage Minister to deny tax credits to films or television show projects deemed offensive.  A Facebook group on the issue has attracted hundreds of members in a matter of hours.

14 Comments

  1. talk show host
    When are they going to try and pass this bill?

  2. censorship
    This is the last straw of a minority group who is envisioning a world that exists only in their dreams. Fundamentalists with morality issues completely out of reality. A statement like “It’s fitting with conservative values, and I think that’s why Canadians voted for a Conservative government” is in denial with the fact that the majority of Canadians actually didn’t vote for them.

  3. “conservative” values? I don’t agree. His values, sure. Christian fundamentalist values, sure. But don’t claim that they are conservative values.

  4. On average fund managers under perform the S&P. This suggests that despite the best of intentions, and the most powerful of incentives, smart, experienced and motivated people still cannot pick winners any better than the general market as a whole.

    So a dollar spent on the market as a whole yields better more consistent results over the long run than trying to cherry pick the market.

    Similarly I think, there is no way the heritage ministry will be able to deliver greater value to Canadians by cherry picking content. Indeed, just as in investing, this will necessarily yield less value.

    Is that the ministry’s mandate? to culturally impoverish Canada??

  5. Is this blown out proportion?
    I strongly suspect that this is whole affair is being blown way out of proportion. I’m going to wait for the guidelines that define “contrary to public policy” before passing judgment. And it is noted in the article that we can expect guidelines.

    If this measure is only to ensure that tax breaks are not going to pornographic or hate propaganda productions, then I think we could agree that this is largely an unobjectionable matter. However, if we get broad and vague guidelines, or no guidelines at all, by the time this comes into effect, then we’ll the torches and pitchforks. But please do have the patience to wait until then.

  6. Despotism & Democracy
    Censorship is censorship with or without guidelines. If you think that fighting for freedom of speech is blowing out of proportion you still do not understand how fragile is democracy. Or perhaps you would rather like to live in a country where government controls what you have to say, see and “think”. That kind of government is called “dictatorship” because in fact it dictates (to impose, pronounce, or specify authoritatively).
    Despotism & Democracy: [ link ]

  7. Tax law is not censorship
    “Censorship is censorship” except when there’s no censorship. This measure is about tax breaks. There is no restriction about what can and can’t be said or published in this amendment to the tax law. At worst, this could be construed as a government statement of not supporting particular media projects. But there is absolutely nothing in this that bans anything. To call this censorship is to create a false representation of what is happening here.

  8. Inevitable consequence
    As Colin says, this isn’t censorship. It’s an inevitable consequence of trying to fund “culture” in a pluralistic society.

    Funding culture wouldn’t cause any problems if we all agreed on what should be funded. But we don’t agree and in a pluralistic society we never will.

    Funding “culture” in this context just encourages culture wars and that’s bad policy.

  9. Cultural censorship is a “vast left-win
    Oh stop already! Canada has been leaving skid marks all over the slippery slope of “censorship” for decades now.

    The Canadian arts and culture community has just been living in “censorship” denial under Liberal rule. They just don’t like to call it that. They prefer pretty, politically motivated, doublespeak euphemisms like “CanCon” instead.

    Cultural funding and its subversive undertow of “acceptable” censorship has been a dead albatross to the Canadian arts and culture community for so long now that they’ve become de facto cult victims, vehemently defending their “faith” while utterly oblivious to its long-standing corrosive effect on their own artistic freedoms.

    Cultural censorship is nothing new in Canada, nor is it “unacceptable” in principle to Canadian artists and our cultural community. It’s just that what’s proposed isn’t exactly the “flavour” we want, which is really just a whole lot of whining.

    If the Canadian arts and culture community want to be taken seriously about opposing “censorship”, show some cajones and oppose it all. Cut the umbilical leash and set yourself free.

  10. Bill C-10 is a Liberal bill.
    The whole “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” hysteria over this tempest in a teapot is just absurd.

    The Senate is currently run under Liberal majority rule, with 60 Liberals, and only 22 Conservatives, plus 3 Progressive Conservatives, out of a total 105 members.

    The house is currently run under Conservative minority rule. There are 126 Conservative MPs, 94 Liberals, 49 Bloc Quebecois, 30 NDP, 4 independents, and 5 vacancies, out of a total 308 members.

    All parties in the House of Commons passed Bill C-10. Surely someone from the various Left Wing factions would have noticed such self-evident right-wing “anti-arts” venom coursing through its veins.

    The bill is currently before the Senate for its 3rd and final reading. Since November 2006, when this bill used to C-33 before it stalled after 1st reading in the Senate in June 2007, neither the Liberals nor the arts and culture community have said “boo” about this bill, even though the document has been publicly available for review throughout.

    Can it be that the Liberals hadn’t read the bill? Or is it that the Liberals just don’t care enough about the arts and culture community to raise opposition on their behalf? Or is it just not surprising how very little the Liberals have had to say about it because this bill is mostly an unaltered vestige of Paul Martin’s Liberal regime?

    Is this bill a “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy”, or some “Vast Left-Wing Incompetence”?

  11. A Poorly Structured Change
    @Colin;

    Quite honestly, the censorship point is, to me, minor. As long as the guidelines exist in a fairly transparent fashion, the government of the day can adjust them and people can judge according to their own views.

    What concerns me here, though, is that this is being made retroactive as well. The legislation is a bit obtuse, but my reading of it suggests that if a project is found – say in 2008 – to contravene “public policy guidelines” then it’s arguable that they would owe all the taxes they were exempted from since 2002 onward.

    Even new projects appear to be subject to “hindsight review”, so that you find out if you qualify for tax breaks AFTER you have completed all the work and spent all the money.

    That kind of uncertainty will kill any project that in any way needs either grants or tax breaks. (The Hollywood Reporter is already covering this, as the tax effects may be relevant to any foreign production in Canada.)

    Simply put, the government can have whatever guidelines it wishes in place around projects, and can apply them at the time a production requests Canadian status. Once that status is granted, only evidence of deliberate, fraudulent attempts to abuse the system should be cause for revoking the status.

    As it stands right now, it looks like they could even change the guidelines after you release your film, and then go claim all those unpaid taxes.

  12. In my opinion, the government shouldn’t give tax credits to anyone be they a filmmaker, rich sports team owner, or aerospace company. However, if the government IS going to give rebates and subsidies to someone, then I think it’s perfectly within their right to dictate who gets those subsidies and credits.

    Also, I see absolutely nothing in this bill that would prevent someone from saying or doing something. It only says what things the government will financially support on behalf of all Canadians.

    The one issue I do have is with the retroactive part. If you’re not going to give a credit to something then say so up front, don’t go back after the fact. On the other hand, if the criteria for qualification are content related then how can you possibly be 100% sure an item has qualified until you see the finished content? The whole scenario is absurd, which brings me back to my first opinion: the government should not give credits or subsidies to anyone or anything. With wars going on in the world and serious issues in our own country is this really what we want our elected officials spending their time on? Deciding whether some movie has too much sex in it?

  13. Re: Is this blown out of proportion?
    Colin: From the G&M article:

    “Game and talk shows, news, sports, reality television and pornography are already excluded from access to the tax credits. The proposed prohibition would cover a sweeping range of material, such as anything of an explicit sexual nature, that denigrates a group or is excessively violent without an educational value.”

    So, one of your points (pornography) appears to be moot. Would this cover religious programming that preaches intolerance toward homosexuals, other faiths, etc? Unfortunately, I thought religious groups in Canada had tax exempt status (I may be wrong on that one), so it not even apply to them.

    I too have a problem with the concept of retroactive regulations. Seems to me to be simple means of allowing the politicians to cover their butts, since if a production gets tax credits because it was not prohibited, and it causes too big a stink, they can just change their mind.

  14. Blowing this bill out of proportion? I think not. What we have here, in my view, is plain and simple censorship based on a small right wing religous based ideals. I thought my Canada is all about freedom of choice and acceptance. I feel gutted over the clandestine way Mr. Harper’s government has quietly moved this bill from the house to the senate, and am equally gutted over the opposition party’s muted voices. I am afraid that the current sitting government does not share my views of an open Canadian society and feel insulted that they think I need looking after when it comes to what they think is inappropriate material. As clever of an idea that it is they are using the tax credit system as a back door entrance to censorship and , I for on am going to show my disapproval come voting time. The Liberal and NDP parties should also be held to account for staying quiet on the issue. Shame on the lot of you.