I like tv as much as any other guy, I suppose. I like watching sports, the History Channel, the Classic Westerns (that should date me), and a broad expression of national and world news reporting. On the whole, people are watching a lot of television these days.
I know that television has changed over the years. First, black and white left – I wasn’t so sorry about that. Technicolor was great. Then, we got options: remember going from one channel to two to cable to satellite? And, what man can forget the invention of the “remote control.”
However, not every change has been beneficial or healthy for Canadian viewer ship. Many of us can still remember the days when “obscenity,” “nudity and sexuality,” and televising someone drinking or taking drugs was not tolerated for public viewing. Now it is commonplace.
Well, it appears that our Conservative government is considering cleaning up the moral filth occurring through the Canada’s film industry. This has serious implications because nearly a billion dollars in tax credits and subsidies goes to support the industry annually.
Some of the films that have received subsidy benefits glorify indecent sexual behavior between teens as exemplified in “Young People F—ing,” a film produced by Stephen Hoban. The government plans to set up a “screening process to make sure quality films, both in content and technique, will be receiving subsidy help.”
Bill C-10’s intent was to amend the Income Tax Act. However, Section 120 gives the Heritage Minister the right to withdraw tax credits from productions determined to be “contrary to public policy.” He would set guidelines for the producers regarding violence, hatred and sexual content.
The Directors Guild of Canada and ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) are up in arms. They are lobbying against what they consider to be “moral policing” with a Kill Bill campaign. What’s new? This is getting old real quick. You have to wonder: “When is anything going to be immoral to anybody?” Canada’s film industry has been kicking up against the edge for years. In an attempt to be different from the U.S. film industry, to give Canada its own sense of uniqueness, ACTRA has crossed many controversial lines.
This legislation isn’t an invasion on “human rights” – it is an attempt to give meaning to and protect human rights, like our children’s rights to watch television with some level of safety, or our women’s rights to have their bodies looked at with honor and treated with dignity.
Some bloggers are calling for “separation of church and state.” That is a tired argument. You can’t separate morality from any aspect of life. Anyways, what they are really whining about is the use of our money via tax incentives, the separation of “tv trash” and “state financing.”
Here is a novel idea: maybe some of this “tv trash” would not be supported by corporations if the tax incentives were removed. Maybe somebody ought to look at what corporations are financing this stuff!
If they really want the government to stay out of it, the government should, and not release any of the billion dollars to support an industry that may be undermining our nation’s moral strength.
I just returned from Vietnam. I was warned before entering that nothing that can be considered damaging to the moral strength of their people can be brought into the nation. I could have faced prosecution.
What the Canadian film industry is really concerned about is the possibility that government may be able to set a “community standard for the entire country.”
I, for one, support Bill C-10, Section 120. It’s about time somebody in government was “standing guard” over the moral health of our citizenry.