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Monday, May 12, 2008

Is the Senate willing to force an election over Bill C-10?

In an op-ed in yesterday’s Calgary Herald titled “Dangerous censorship hidden in act,” Alberta Senator Tommy Banks implied that the Senate is willing to force an election on Bill C-10.

Bill C-10 would grant the Heritage Minister broad power to deny Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credits to films that contain subject matter that is contrary to federal policy objectives. The Canadian film industry is calling the bill censorship, and even conservative columnists like George Jonas don’t like the proposed legislation.

Opposition to the legislation hasn’t weakened the resolve of the government, though. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he’ll treat any proposed amendments to the legislation from the Senate as a confidence matter that would trigger a general election.

Banks’ response in his column to this threat was short but cryptic: “OK.”

OK? What does OK mean?

According to Wikipedia, the Liberals control 60 seats in the Senate while the Conservatives control only 22.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 12, 2008 | Permalink


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He who pays the piper calls the tune. If government funds are involved, then the government has a right to control the spending.
You need look no further than our "free" healthcare system.
The only solution to this problem is to stop funding these projects and let them sink or swim based on their own merits.
Personally I'm sick and tired of having my tax $$ spent on crap. If someone wants to chronicle the life-cycle of the three-peckered newt or something, let them do it on their own dime.

Posted by: atric | 2008-05-12 10:14:07 AM

He who pays the piper does call the tune, Atric, which is why we need to limit the size and scope of government. However, does that mean the postal subsidy offered to magazines like Macleans and the Western Standard should come with editorial strings?

Does the government have a right to demand that Macleans or the Western Standard produce content that is in keeping with its public policy objectives?

In my previous post on Bill C-10, I sited MacKay's suggestion that the media should be forced to be accountable to public policy objectives. This is a dangerous state media model.

What C-10 would do is make the film industry part of the propaganda arm of the state. Is that what we want? Cut off the funding? YES! But what do we do in the interim? And what control should we give up to the government in exchange for government money? I say none.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-05-12 10:58:32 AM

He who pays the piper should call the tune indeed. How about each and every net $1000.00 of tax money "donated" to Ottawa entitles the "donor" to one vote in a federal election. The alternative and status-quo is taxation without representation. This badly needed reform would by definition, exclude all public servants, welfare bums and Crown corp employees from voting for a living and instead have to offer services to a market of willing buyers. Corporate welfare bum's employee's votes would be reduced proportionately.

Hey, I can dream can't I?

Laissez-nous faire.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-05-12 11:40:54 AM

I agee. As long as there is state involvment, the
ability to control is there. Involvement in postal subsidies is just as wrong as well.
Government should govern, not dictate to or finance business ventures. When government gets out of the business of telling us what our "public policy" is, then the public can formulate those policies themselves.
It reminds me of the Liberals spouting off about "Canadian Values" when Canadians had no input into what their real values are.

Posted by: atric | 2008-05-12 11:50:49 AM

I agree with atric on this one. Sorry Matthew but one cannot accept government handouts while demanding government has no say in the matter. Of course this is exactly how we get hooked in the first place.

The best would be to eliminate the government handouts and for the government to return to governing. I realise this is not likely to happen when we have far too many addicted to government handouts in one form or another.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-05-12 1:17:43 PM

The biggest problems with C-10 are:

1. It doesn't clearly lay out what is supportive and what is not. There are no guidelines for a film maker to know if he will get the tax credit or not.

2. It will be decided AFTER the fact. There is no prior submission process where one can send a script and then get confirmation of the tax credit, essentially it is a crap shoot for the film maker.

Finally, the Government isn't "paying" the film makers either, it does give them a tax break, but it's not like the Government doesn't anything, other taxes, not directly related to the production (e.g. personal income tax) is still collected by the Government.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2008-05-12 7:07:42 PM

Since principles seem to be off the table in Canadian politics these days lets focus on spin. For someone purported to be as politically astute as PMSH, this legislation will be perceived as no different than the Christian Right holding the reigns of power. That perception, warranted or not, is, in Canada, political suicide.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-05-13 10:33:09 AM

I like the perception created when PMSH's philosophy suggests the people best qualified to spend money are the people who earned it in the first place.

In that vein, film-makers are quite free to risk their capital in the hopes of making even more from their work.

As in any venture, film-makers can deduct expenses incurred during all stages of production like any other business.

If they can't make money, maybe it's time to look for another line of work. There's no need for more corporate welfare in this case.

Would the religious left agree that it's OK for taxpayers to subsidize losing ventures? Is it a religious issue at all?

Posted by: set you free | 2008-05-13 10:45:20 AM

>"However, does that mean the postal subsidy offered to magazines like Macleans and the Western Standard should come with editorial strings?"
Matthew Johnston | 12-May-08 10:58:32 AM

You have a point, Matthew.

Canadian Film or Video Productions DVDs should be shipped with the same postal subsidy offered to magazines like Macleans and the Western Standard.

There, now everyone should be happy.

Posted by: Speller | 2008-05-13 11:00:32 AM

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