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.


LRF said...

Hey, you're getting a politically oriented appointee in charge of your organization, too? What a coincidence!

But back to the topic at hand, what can Harper do? He bought tons of votes with the GST cuts, so he's bound to lose a few trying to juggle the resulting smaller budget.

Anonymous said...

It was only a matter of time about your feelings on the Harper government.
About Canadian movies, no less.
There's a lot to think about with your blog.
I'm looking forward to having some conversations about it when I see you.
Love from your Mum