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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Will the Tories blink on Bill C-10?

I’ve written a lot about Bill C-10, perhaps too much – but news this weekend from the Federation of Canadians Municipalities (FCM) was something I couldn’t ignore.

Canada’s glitterati have been raising an army to stop proposed changes to the federal film tax credits, and the FCM is their newest star recruit.

Bill C-10 would deny tax credits to Canadian film and video productions that are considered offensive to the Heritage minister and that contain messages and themes that are contrary to government public policy.

Canadian film celebrities like Oscar nominee Sarah Polley and director David Cronenberg are bringing their opposition to this seemingly innocuous amendment to the Income Tax Act into the national spotlight.

But will it work?

Well, even though Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he’ll treat any proposed amendments to the bill as a confidence matter that would trigger a general election, members of the Senate are still holding committee meetings to hear from the growing number of opponents of the proposed legislation.

Political strategist and Western Standard blogger Gerry Nicholls doesn’t think we’ll see an election come out of this debate, but he does have some critical words for the Tory government on how they have handled this issue.

Bill C-10 does have its supporters, though. Real Women of Canada and the Canadian Family Action Coalition support the proposed legislation, but are they on the right track?

Decide for yourself by reading this Western Standard exclusive “Will the Tories blink on Bill C-10?”

Posted by Matthew Johnston on June 1, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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If Sarah Polley and David Cronenberg wish to make Canadian porn flicks, I say go ahead folks, but do it on private money not on my coerced f$%&*@g nickel.
Canadians are already forced to pay for abortions and the CBC ( the artsy abortion) , so do the porn flicks on your own.

Posted by: Joseph ( Joe ) Molnar | 2008-06-02 6:54:01 AM

How about no funding for films period. That way everyone is treated the same - no abuse of discretionary power, no horrible films being made with precious tax dollars.

The CBC should be immediately disbanded and its huge budget reapplied to more important projects, like MRI machines. The CBC is nothing but an organized crime.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-06-02 7:28:24 AM

Do gay cowboy movies, shot in Alberta, that are funded by Alberta Film Development Corporation fall into this category?

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-06-02 8:24:11 AM

I've heard the gay cowboy movie made money. Haven't seen it, but it seemed to be fairy popular.

Zeb's comment about the CBC points out the climate we've become accustomed to in Canadian entertainment. The CBC is the battering ram for the elite who decide what we really want to see and hear. If left to our own devices, we'd be completely lost to some sort of American message. This has been going on for at least 40 years.

When Don Messer was cancelled in 1969 it was the number one show in Canada. It just didn't measure up to the cultural image of the stuffed shirts at the CBC. I wasn't sad to see it go, but plenty of others sure were.

Now we're told Little Mosque and The Hour represent true Canadian values. Did anyone bother to study the ratings, and would it make a difference anyway? And how about the garbage on the other Canadian network? Does anyone really watch Corner Gas? Would any of these shows make it without subsidies and Canadian content laws?

Will the Tories blink? Don't expect any common sense to enter into this debate. Especially when social conservative groups get involved. It'll turn into a morals issue, and the free speech aspect will be kicked to the curb.

Posted by: dp | 2008-06-02 8:53:27 AM


You seem determined to get people to agree with the notion that government can do the wrong thing the "right way". As Zeb more or less says above, laissez-nous faire. Government needs to get the f... out of our lives! The titillation industry is as good a place to start as any other.

If you want to stimulate the economy reduce or kill corporate taxes across the board, instead of credits for the chosen few.

C-10 is bootlegged censorship.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-06-02 10:06:54 AM

I just oppose privilege - in this case the self-appointed cultural elite of Ontario. Without tax money, they'd be nothing. Funding them removes their incentive to be creative, contrary to their claims. Tax money is scarce and must be used carefully - $1.7b a year for the CBC, and what the NFB and other programs receive - is in my opinion totally wasted. It produces nothing, and does not serve the population as a whole. That money ought to be used for health care, education and the military, not anarchist agitprop.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-06-02 10:28:50 AM

John -- I want to see the government out of the business of funding film altogether, but that is not what Bill C-10 is about. Bill C-10 would give the Heritage minister the discretion to decide which films get tax credits and which do not -- and tax credits are not subsidies. The subsidy programs would remain in place...untouched by Bill C-10.

Why is the Conservative government creating a propaganda department instead of simply getting out of the business of funding films?

I patently reject the idea that the film industry should be concerned with conforming to the public policy objectives of whoever is in power. They should be concerned with producing films.

If the government doesn't like what is being produced, they should eliminate or reduce the film subsidies (which the tax credits are not) across the board. I do not want to see the state granted further power to judge what is "offensive." Let the market via consumers make that judgment.

I support any move by the government that reduces its own size and scope, and oppose any move that increases its own size and scope. Bill C-10 gives the Heritage minister news powers, and leaves the source of the problem untouched. It’s a very bad bill that represents a very illiberal approach to governing.

I wrote the article as a news piece, letting other people do the talking and leaving out some of my biases (but not all). I hope it provides a better context to this story than I've provided with my blog posts.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-06-02 10:41:28 AM


My misunderstanding - I thought you supported C-10.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-06-02 10:57:35 AM

Tax money is scarce and must be used carefully - $1.7b a year for the CBC,
Posted by: Zebulon Punk | 2-Jun-08 10:28:50 AM

The CBC doesn't get $1.7b in funding, and anyways you don't live in Canada and pay taxes here so what you think is irrelevant. The fate of the CBC should be in the hands of the taxpayers not wannbe Americans that live in Alabama. Go complain to someone about the subsides that PBS get.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-06-02 11:36:29 AM

That money ought to be used for health care, education and the military, not anarchist agitprop.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2-Jun-08 10:28:50 AM

Two of the three areas, health care and education fall under provincial jurisdiction.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-06-02 11:44:23 AM

Like I've seen on The Hour:

If our minority government wish to cut tax credits for movies they don't "approve", why don't they cut tax credits for all religious groups; since the majority of Canadians don't buy into it anymore...?

The most active group on this issue is the religious one.
When our government take decisions for our entire society based on what please the religious eyes of a few who pannic each time they see boobs on tv, you know the Cons have adjustments to do to keep up with the majority who live in 2008.


I disapprove with the CPC government on almost every issues so therefore, should I stop paying my taxes...?


The extreme religious Right in the party is what will cause the CPC his downfall. We've accept to go fight overseas against religious extremism and now, most bills proposed by our minority Conservative government smells religion wall to wall.

The CPC: dammed to a minority government or less.


Since I personally distrust the Libs as well, the Bloc is my only option. Don't be fool by my reasonning, The Bloc would still get my vote even if the Libs or Cons would REALLY work for Canadians.

Posted by: Marc | 2008-06-02 12:37:15 PM

Stig: You Canadians see fit to criticize the US, why shouldn't Americans (or expatriates) be able to criticize (read: mock) Canada?

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-06-02 12:40:14 PM

Stig: You Canadians see fit to criticize the US, why shouldn't Americans (or expatriates) be able to criticize (read: mock) Canada?
Posted by: Zebulon Punk | 2-Jun-08 12:40:14 PM

You haven't, nor will you see me criticize the US for decisions that the voters make. You are another story Punk. In your feeble little world Toronto is the root cause of all evil. You're nothing but a repetitive boor. Go crawl back under your rock in Bumf*ck Alabama.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-06-02 12:55:16 PM

I countered your overgeneralization with my own. See how it led nowhere.

Alabama is much nicer than Toronto. Of course, Baghdad is better than Toronto too.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-06-02 1:13:15 PM

The Stig once again enlightens us with the full depth and breadth of its intellect.

Frankly, Canada needs more thoughtful Americans commenting on Canadian issues.

And since US trade pays most of our salaries and most of our national defence, I have no problem turning a friendly ear towards them.


Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-06-02 1:15:08 PM

The Stig once again enlightens us with the full depth and breadth of its intellect.
Posted by: Epsilon | 2-Jun-08 1:15:08 PM

I forgot that you have already been let in on all the secrets of the universe through the pages of Atlantis Rising.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-06-02 2:59:36 PM

Im not familiar with that TV show. Is that some socialist tripe on CBC?


Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-06-02 3:10:27 PM

Im not familiar with that TV show. Is that some socialist tripe on CBC?
Posted by: Epsilon | 2-Jun-08 3:10:27 PM

Couldn't tell you as I never watch the CBC, though if you did read what I wrote you'll see I said the "pages" of Atlantis Rising, which most sane people would assume meant it was printed. In Brave New World Epsilon is the lowest of the social classes, sort of like an untouchable, not the Elliott Ness type, so get bent.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-06-02 3:28:34 PM

Ahhh. I see. Touching us once again with your supreme intellect.


Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-06-02 4:03:27 PM

Our so-called Human Rights commissions, by their own words and actions, have induced me to perceive mental disability and also to hold them in extreme contempt. The grounds for the commissions to prosecute themselves are, by their own standards, incontrovertible.

Posted by: Colin | 2008-06-04 9:43:24 AM

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