Monday, March 03, 2008

Bill C-10 and its dirty little secret

Here's a copy of a letter I just sent off to Senator W. David Angus, Chair of the Senate Committee on Bank, Trade and Commerce.
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March 3, 2008
Senator W. David Angus, Chair, Senate Committee on Bank, Trade and Commerce
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Angus,

I am writing regarding Bill C-10: An Act to amend the Income Tax Act, and specifically section 119 (3) (b) of that Act, which would, in essence, impose a new form of censorship on Canadian creators of film and/or video productions.

Last week saw Canadians celebrating Freedom to Read Week. That fact seems more than a bit ironic in light of the quick action that’s been taken with the above amendment, which clearly threatens the artistic integrity of film and video directors.

The Senate is always portrayed as the place for sober second thought. I can only trust that this will indeed be the case in this instance, and that the Senate will defeat this bill and return it to the House of Commons.

Surely, the Members of the Senate recognize that freedom of expression is essential to the creation of meaningful art, and that the creation of meaningful art is essential to a vibrant culture.


Heidi Greco
Writer and Editor
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To give you some background, I'm going to quote extensively from a letter sent out by the Executive Director of The Writers' Union of Canada.

She explains the Bill to members of TWUC like this:
"You may have heard about Bill C-10: An Act to amend the Income Tax Act, that was made public last week. This is an Income Tax Act with a twist. One small section of the 50-page Act, section 119 (3) (b), proposes changes to the Income Tax Act that are a peculiar new form of censorship."

“Canadian film or video production certificate” means a certificate issued in respect of a production by the Minister of Canadian Heritage certifying that the production is a Canadian film or video production in respect of which that Minister is satisfied that … (b) public financial support of the production would not be contrary to public policy.” [Bill C-10 section 119 (3) (b)]

"This bill received, on October 29, 2007, first, second and third reading in the House of Commons without debate. It is currently in the second reading stage in the Senate.

"The Writers’ Union of Canada is deeply concerned with conformity to public policy becoming a test for any kind of a tax benefit for artistic productions. The application of this principle to movies is unacceptable and establishes a precedent for similar future repression of book and magazine publishers."

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With luck, this link to a story in the Globe may even still work. Fingers crossed; they are often quick to charge.

I hope you will take a minute to write a note of your own to Senator Angus -- and, if you can, cc it to the rest of the Committee. I am enclosing Senator Angus' email address [], as well as addresses for the other Members of the Committee [;;;;;;;;;]. For the record, those Members are: Senate Committee on Bank, Trade and Commerce.

Angus, W. David, Chair - C - (Alma - Quebec)
Goldstein, Yoine, Deputy Chair - Lib. - (Rigaud - Quebec)
Biron, Michel - Lib. - (Mille Isles - Quebec)
Eyton, John Trevor - C - (Ontario)
Harb, Mac - Lib. - (Ontario)
Jaffer, Mobina S.B. - Lib. - (British Columbia)
Massicotte, Paul J. - Lib. - (De Lanaudière - Quebec)
Moore, Wilfred P. - Lib. - (Stanhope St. / South Shore - Nova Scotia)
Oliver, Donald H. - C - (South Shore - Nova Scotia)
Ringuette, Pierrette - Lib. - (New Brunswick)
Tkachuk, David - C - (Saskatchewan)

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