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Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Tories have obviously got sick of hearing how Bill C-10 is a bass-ackwards way of imposing censorship while crippling the whole tax credits system on which the Canadian motion picture industry relies. So rather than fixing the bill, they just made it a confidence measure in Parliament:
OTTAWA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is declaring film tax-credit legislation a matter of confidence in the Conservative government, meaning MPs could land on Canadian doorsteps this spring to debate the line between art and pornography.

Mr. Flaherty said the legislation, known as Bill C-10, contains a range of important tax measures and changes will not be tolerated.

"The bill should not be amended," he told reporters yesterday. "A tax bill is a confidence bill. We all know that."
A confidence bill (for those of who you are subjects of the Unitary Executive) means that if the opposition votes it down, the government falls. The Liberals aren't ready for an election, so they probably won't have the balls to vote C-10 down.

So we'll get sneaky, bass-ackwards, financially crippling censorship.



Well fuck me sideways.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:05 PM  

This simply leaves me feeling enraged.

Perhaps writing a letter would be more effective/civilized, but after reading the article I immediately called the offices of a Conservative Calgary MLA and left a message.

" a young person working in the film and television industry...fuck you for gambling with my future."

By Blogger creeboy, at 5:41 PM  

Having the Liberals as the official opposition is as good as having a majority government for the Conservatives. Who knew they would last this long? While I understand the Liberals aren't ready, they aren't doing themselves any favours by continuing to prop up this awful government. Are they driving vote away from their party? Unfortunately, you either vote for them or for the Green party or NDP, which means splitting the vote and giving the Conservatives a better chance to get back in power.

Perhaps a call/letter/email to the Liberal party might have more effect. Tell them you'll vote Green if they support the bill. Film industry people live in urban centres, which is currently the lifeblood of the Liberals. Conservatives don't have to listen to film industry people because they don't/won't vote for them. Liberals, on the other hand, will be biting the hand that feeds them.

By Blogger Tim W., at 6:42 PM  

I can understand the Conservative Party's willingness to let Canada become a cultural backwater; conservatives (in many places) seem to place little value on art or culture.

But aren't conservative parties also supposed to be pro-business? This sort of thing seems designed to break both art and business. Do they really want Canadaian film to become a cultural backwater that's not good for anything except providing the US film industry with an imitation Seattle (Vancouver) and a discount New York (Toronto)? With the US dollar in the toilet, the cost advantages of using Canadian cities as budget replicas of US cities has faded. With that reducing US-backed production in Canada, and this bill threatening home-grown production, it's as if they're trying to kill the entire industry.

If I were Canadian, I'd be tempted to build a test case: submit a script along the lines of a reverent docu-drama about a Conservative hero to the film board, then revise it during production to portray the hero as a villain or buffoon. (But maybe test cases don't work like that in Canada; I must admit my ignorance on Canadian laws about political censorship.)

I guess the Conservatives have seen how stupid the US right wing is, and want to try to catch up with them.

By Blogger Unknown, at 7:24 AM  

The Bass-tiches!

By Blogger Rusty James, at 1:55 PM  

I hope C-10 gets passed. The film and TV industry in Canada sucks anyway. Who watches the shows we make up here? Robson Arms, jPod, Trailer Park Boys? Garbage. You ask any random person on the street if they've ever tuned in to any of these more than once, they may say "yes" to please you. But rest assured, they would rather watch something GOOD instead. I hate these shows. You can call them "cutting edge" and "irreverent" all you like, but that won't make them any better. They're not the kind of entertainment I want in my head, or in my kids' heads. I love my kids too much to subject them to such ugliness. These shows don't represent the Canada I grew up in, the one my father and grandfather fought for. I'm not talking Corner Gas here. We can do something good, if we have to.

Most people can smell garbage film and garbage TV a kilometer away, and they'll turn away in a heartbeat. You people actually IN the industry, you either plug your noses and keep smiling like it doesn't stink just so you'll get your share of the dole, or you simply can't smell it anymore 'cause you're rife with it yourselves. Trust me, I've met you at parties. You're all starting to smell the same.

All of you out there bawling about C-10 are just worried your easy access to fund-money will dry up. Or, worse yet, you might have to work on and present a project that actually has substance, some real art to it, in order to get at this money. If it wasn't for these funding agencies spoon-feeding you, there wouldn't be a TV or film industry in Canada. In fact, there really isn't anyway. If we can't tell good stories well - but instead we bow to officiating bodies to get our daily bread - then we don't deserve to work in film or TV. Not here. Let it die if it can't feed itself.

And the filth we're churning out every year is far from a point for your side of this argument. Our country is the best country in the world. It didn't become that on its own. It took brave people striving to do great things, all the while fighting the constant undercurrent of mediocrity threatening to swamp us. And we're almost swamped now. C-10? Go for it. Can't make a bad thing better if you don't try; and bad things only get worse if we do nothing. Those of you bawling about C-10? That it hurts your livelihood? Good. Maybe now you'll make something worth watching.

By Blogger Canuck Writer, at 7:18 PM  

Sorry, it's late. Make that link for the romantic comedy blog

By Blogger Butch Maier, at 2:40 AM  

Let's not let them take OUR Canada and turn it into ONLY THEIRS - whether it's Corner Gas, Trailer Park Boys, or Degrassi; I'm itching for a fight to defend whoever has the balls to make film and television - Good OR Bad.

By Blogger Rusty James, at 10:25 AM  

But these shows are not OURS or THEIRS, they're YOURS. The argument that "it's art, don't interfere with art" - is fine and true when art speaks for the people and for the times. That's what great art is; it's what we need to strive for. Bad art speaks only for the artist. And much of what gets public funding is bad art which hasn't represented OUR Canada for a long, long time.

Television is a commercial medium – just read Alex Epstein's "Crafty TV Writing". The premise of his entire book is to help you make quality, marketable shows. Nobody is stopping you from engaging in your craft. If it is of quality and is marketable, then you will make a living at it. If not, you won't. Right now, you are making a living either way. And everyone in Canada is paying for it. It's said that nobody sets out to make a bad film. Here in Canada, we'll just make something, good or bad? That's the essence of mediocrity. And it should be a thing of the past.

The funding bodies need to be held accountable for years of questionable decision-making and near-incestuous self-governance. Very few people in key positions decide which projects receive money, and which do not. Passing Bill C-10 expands this responsibility beyond these individuals, in the hopes that all of our voices will be heard, not just the industry's.

By the way, you created highly appropriate imagery of the entire Canadian film and TV industry by placing "itching" and "balls" in the same sentence.

By Blogger Canuck Writer, at 12:54 PM  

Dear Canuck writer (a handle I sincerely doubt) shows his credibility and bias by doing exactly what Jim Shaw does: pointing to success and claiming failure.

It's okay to express a personal preference and say, "hey, I hate Trailer Park Boys and Corner Gas." But you use them as examples of failure.

When by measure of return vs. expense, viewership, media attention, ratings and personal appearance buzz -- both of those shows are big successes.

You speak for "Canadians" and yet you discount the consistent viewing preference of 2 million people a week.

Your argument is muddleheaded and ax-based. There are plenty of problems with the Canadian film and television industry. C10 will fix absolutely none of them. And anyone who'll count success as failure deserves to have their opinion discounted as the ill-informed, kneejerk thing that it is.

By Blogger DMc, at 1:57 PM  

I hate these shows. You can call them "cutting edge" and "irreverent" all you like, but that won't make them any better. They're not the kind of entertainment I want in my head, or in my kids' heads. I love my kids too much to subject them to such ugliness. These shows don't represent the Canada I grew up in, the one my father and grandfather fought for.

You know, I love nostalgia. It worked great for the 70's and 80's - heck even the 90's are starting to feel that gentle lull.

But I'm sorry Canuck, the Canada you grew up in is long gone.

Though I'm left to wonder where your scathing remarks for Little Mosque On The Prairie are? Surely that's a show that would appeal to you (based off of what you so happily claim to hate).

Hey, this is a free country, you're entitled to your opinions and I'm not going to slag you on them - but I will say this: it really seems like you don't quite understand what Bill C-10 is all about. Believe me, if Canada had the kind of numbers or money kicking around to support a thriving TV and Film industry on its own we certainly wouldn't need Government money.

But that market just doesn't exist right now. Certainly not in any way that is self-sustainable. Hey, if you know something I don't, please feel free to share, but you work with what you've got in the end. If you've got private money you wanna throw in, by all means, I'll take it - as would pretty much anyone else. But it's just not there.

Tho' from reading your comments I find myself asking: are you saying that all us aspiring Canadian writers should head to another country to make a living? Or would you prefer that we all started digging ditches like in the old days?

By Blogger Brandon Laraby, at 11:20 PM  

I gotta weigh in here. "Canadian Writer," you're missing the point. C-10 could kill off most of the successful Canadian movies. BON COP / BAD COP would not have got made under the regime (too risqué). Nor would most of this year's Oscar nominees, had they been Canadian. Nor would Brokeback Mountain. No bank would have taken a shot.

The only kind of movie I would bank, if I were a bank, would be Anne of Green Gables IV. Is that the Canada your grandfather fought for? Because that's not the Canada I live in.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 11:25 PM  

The thing that's truly evil about C-10 isn't that it kills subsidies for the Canadian film industry. One can reasonably argue the position that Canadian film industry can survive without the grants. One can also argue that if it can't survive without the grants, it doesn't deserve to survive.

(I think the Canadian film industry can survive without the grants, although losing them would hurt a lot. So although I think it's a reasonable debate point, I think the grants are a good idea. The US government disagrees, but many US states and local governments offer similar supports to the film industry; I live near Seattle and I know that both Seattle and Washington state support their film industries. But what's at issue with C-10 isn't just a yes-or-no to grants.)

What's wrong with the bill is that it continues the grants, but makes them conditional on satisfying the whims of officials in a government agency. That's bad enough, but what's truly wrong with it is that the agency can make a grant, then withdraw the money if the agency decides it doesn't like the finished work -- after the grant has been spent.

If the bill merely allowed the agency to demand return of a grant if the film-makers produced something that differed from the proposal to a degree that amounted to a breach of the grant's contract, that would be reasonable. But the agency can demand the money back if it doesn't like it, for its own political reasons. That's wrong. That's censorship.

By Blogger Unknown, at 5:09 AM  

And it's causing a filmmaker to be 500,000 bucks in the ditch.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:36 PM  

This article was brought to my attention a few minutes ago.


By Blogger Dave Olden, at 1:44 AM  

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