“Offensive” is in the Eye of the Beholder. So is “Fascist”

Canadians take note and take cover: This was the danger of bringing in a Conservative (note the big “C”) government. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

The problem, of course, is that word: “offensive.” Because, clearly, what offends is strictly in the eye of the beholder. You can’t swagger about, throwing that word around -- and trying to connect it to income tax just to make it more palatable or pretty -- and expect to not have people throwing stuff at you. Here’s The Hollywood Reporter’s take:
The Canadian government said Thursday that it has proposed amendments to the federal Income Tax Act that could potentially deny tax credits to film and TV productions considered “offensive” by a committee of bureaucrats.

The censorship measures, outlined in Bill C-10, which is now before Parliament, would enable the federal heritage minister to pull federal financing for film or TV productions deemed “contrary to public policy.”
CTV adds some facts:
Bill C-10, which is in its third reading in the Senate, would pull the plug on tax credits -- and therefore massive amounts of funding -- on films the Department of Heritage finds to be morally lacking.

The country’s actors union has demanded the government drop the plan, and the national writer’s union is planning a protest. The Director’s Guild of Canada says the plans will give the heritage minister the ability to censor projects that don’t fit with the Conservative government’s political agenda.

CTV also points out that some edgy -- and arguably important -- Canadian films would never (ever, ever, ever) have been made had such a scheme been in place even a decade or so ago.
Films that would not have been made if the current bill had been law earlier include Lynne Stopkewich’s lauded necrophilia film “Kissed” and edgy Atom Egoyan thriller “Where The Truth Lies.”

(Although calling Kissed a “necrophilia film” is a little bit… well… stupid. On the surface, that’s what it’s about. But the subtext is so much more. Do see it if you get the chance.)

And Xtra didn’t mince any words at all:
This government is at war with Canadian culture. There was virtually no mention of the arts sector in the last budget; no mention of the $49 million repeatedly requested by Ontario's big cultural institutions; nothing coming close to the previous Liberal government's support, matched by Queens Park, to the tune of $200 million.

And yet this is the same Tory government that thinks you can promote Canadian culture in Afghanistan from the barrel of a gun.
OK: so this is what Bill C-10 is. Now someone, please, tell me what, if anything, we can do. (Because it’s clear: something must be done.)


John McFetridge said…
It's tough.

But the truth is, the Canadian government film funding has been a disaster for a long time. (some of this is sour grapes, I spent almost twenty years involved in projects that were turned down by Telefilm - not for being "offensive" - but for... well, I don't know because those fascists at Telefilm don't have to tell you how they make their choices).

As much as I hate this bill (or really, this rider they snuck onto it, those #@%$@&*), I actually do understand people's frustration with the closed-door, smug attitude that's come from Telefilm since it used be the CFDC.

I think what we could do is shut the whole thing down and start over. It's been a very small, private club for a long time. Really, how many millions of dollars do we have to pour into the same five filmmakers year after year? What Telefilm spends in one year could finance the Canadian publishing inidustry for the next fifty years.

And, it always makes me cringe a little when the entire film community says they're dead in the water because the government won't give them money, like there's no other possible way to make a movie.

sorry. I could go on and on.
John McFetridge said…
Okay, on another forum I was told it's really just the CAVCO tax credits that make up about 10% of the budget - but still...

Then the guy went on to say that as much as the seperation of church and state is good for citizens, so is the seperation of economy and state.

This could be a long fight....
Clea Simon said…
Well, much as I'd love you to come down here, I can't recommend it. In terms of government, Canada still beats the pants off the USofA. Though maybe that will change soon...

Does make me wonder what your gov't would make of "The Wire," though. Yup, these days, I'm all "The Wire," all the time.

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