Thursday, March 27, 2008

No Longer on the Fence

Until this point, I had reserved judgement on the Harper government.

Sure, I frowned when he kicked to the curb marginalized Canadians in need of legal aid. Sure, I was unimpressed with Conservative rhetoric replacing leadership in the environment. And you can bet I'm a tad wary about this young buck, an external appointee (who may yet be a Conservative-agenda-enforcing Harper-henchman) who is to run the rabidly non-partisan Statistics Canada.

But for me, all those instances evoked was an eye-roll; while these actions are certainly not good, in my eye, I've not yet been provoked into a visceral reaction of utmost disgust.

Until today.

Courtesy of The Globe & Mail:
"Canadian Heritage officials confirmed yesterday they will be 'expanding slightly' the criteria used for denying tax credits to include grounds such as gratuitous violence, significant sexual content that lacks an educational purpose, or denigration of an identifiable group. More details are promised next week."

What infuriating nonsense. Harper is extending the scope of his muzzling to now include Canadian filmmakers evermore, should they continue with their gritty, fantastic filmmaking. Canadian film is world-renowned for the very aspects that Conservatives are trying to snuff; We do not shy away from realism, from brutal honesty, from challenging subject matter. It is a proud piece of our national identity.

In sum, Canadian film is about to be castrated in favour of Conservative milquetoast.

Mess with my people, my environment, my livelihood, fine. But don't you dare touch my films.

So, I took the liberty of writing my MP. Should any of you even remotely agree, I urge you to do the same. Below is my letter:

To the Honourable Mr. Dewar,

I am an Ottawa Centre constituent who is utterly alarmed by the Government's move to deny tax credits to Canadian filmmakers. Canadian film is praised worldwide as being gritty and honest, and providing no-holds-barred views of complex and difficult subject matter. This is an identity to be proud of, and it is one that is put at great risk by the Conservatives' agenda.

The world would be a lesser place without films like Exotica, The Saddest Music in the World, The Sweet Hereafter, and Naked Lunch. These fantastic films would be at risk under the Conservative proposal, as they are low-budget, and contain considerable degrees of nudity, sexuality, violence, and other disturbing imagery. Given that many low-budget films simply cannot be made without federal tax credit assistance, films such as these would be terminated "in utero," as it were.

This bill promotes censorship of a true Canadian art form; It is misguided at best, fascist at worst. Please do not let this pass.

Lastly, could you please advise me on other groups or activites related to this issue that you know of? I would like to lend my support to them.

Thank you for your time.

No response as of yet, but that's no surprise as I sent it not an hour ago. ;-) Will keep you posted if I hear anything back. In the meantime, feel free to peruse the following links for more information.

Article 1 - Article 2 - Article 3 - Article 4 - Article 5

Don't be fooled by the myopic "rebuttals" stating that only films against current public policy (i.e. containing illegal activities) will be affected by this bill. Technically, this could mean termination of funding for a film in which someone breaks copyright laws, or even jaywalks.

And how many classic movies involve murder, exactly? Think about it, and reflect on what these ominously vague regulations may do to our Egoyans, our Maddins, and our Canadian Hitchcocks to come.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Last weekend I ran my first ever 5k.

The closest thing I had ever done previously were the duathlons, which had 5k of running broken into two parts by a 10k bike ride. So, Saturday's event was the first time I had ever attempted running 5 consecutive kilometres. Granted, "running" is probably a generous stretch of terminology -- slow jogging would be a far more apt description. Nonetheless, I finished in less than 40 minutes (a good target for beginners) and only had to walk for about three quarters of a K. At about 3.5K, I started seeing spots, so I had to slow down… until I saw the "1 K left!" sign. I ran from there, but allowed myself 200 paces of walking when the spots and dizziness returned. My finish was strong, though, and even left me with ample energy to do errands in the afternoon.

The rest of the afternoon was great. I dropped off my coat for a dry-cleaning, tried out a fantastic new teahouse, picked up some art supplies for my newest project, then topped it all off with ordering a pizza and watching horror movies. I don't generally like horror movies, but since Dave openly detests them, my ideal opportunity to watch them is when he's out of town. Unfortunately, both were duds -- 28 Weeks Later was a perfect example of everything that's wrong with Hollywood-ized movies, and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer destroyed its riveting first half with a positively awful second half. The evening was subsequently redeemed with a friends' housewarming party, which ended around 2AM with my friends and I pushing each other into snowbanks. Good times!

All told, I enjoyed the run so much that I'm already looking into upcoming 5k events. It seems there is about one per month from now until October. Frankly, I'm happy as long as it involves less snow; running in the snow seems entirely too hardcore for my taste. Thank goodness this race had closed down the (cleared) road, as running on snowed-in bike trails would have been a nightmare.

And maybe, next time, Dave can join me! ;-) (No pressure, hon…hehehe)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Is it just me...

...or is there an almost uncanny resemblance between these two pictures?

Ah, my cousin is way cuter than any heiress. Just stay away from that eyeliner, RaeLynn! ;-)