You say censorship, I say due diligence: Bill C-10

While I’m not entirely comfortable with government deciding who gets funding based on ‘moral’ grounds, I’m unsure about how pulling funding equates to censorship. The government would not be saying “you can’t make that film”, it would be saying, “we’re not going to give you money to make that film.” David Cronenburg isn’t being escorted to jail here. A violation of Charter Rights? No, I really don’t think so. The government doesn’t fund my blawg, but that doesn’t mean it’s violating my right to free speech.
Assuming that the quote from the lawyer in the Hollywood Reporter story are accurate, it is disturbing that funding could be retroactively pulled. We don’t need another MPAA.
It’s quite annoying that none of the stories seem to feel it necessary to link to the actual text of the bill, just what everybody else says it says. So, I think this is it, although I see nothing in there about films or tax credits for film makers. If anybody knows where the exact and full text under question is, I’d appreciate a link.
Incidentally, I’m glad that Parliament has done some historical detective work about the history of the finance minister wearing new shoes on budget day. I can now sleep at night. I found that while I was looking for the actual text in question.

9 thoughts on “You say censorship, I say due diligence: Bill C-10

  1. Arts funding under the current federal government sucks (as does, S has been known to refrain, arts funding in Waterloo — Kitchener is much friendlier to the arts in more ways than looser purse strings).
    It’s not censorship, but reviewing arts funding proposals “on moral grounds” puts a strong pressure on the majority of art producers to avoid generating controversial product. That’s at odds with my definition of good art, which I believe should encourage people to think and to feel, and make some people uncomfortable enough to question their perceptions and assumptions.
    Damn few people working in the arts in this country are wealthy enough to make a low-level income producing art without the aid of government funding (a certain successful author comes to mind, but FAIK even he may get grant dosh through his publishers). I don’t want their voices drowned out by “fat cats and their lapdogs”.

  2. But making a living doing other things equally valuable to society sucks just as bad, or even more.
    As a wannabe philosopher, my options for governmental funding are about 0, particularly since I’m a white dude. About my only chance is to get a faculty position somewhere and apply for SSHERC grants.
    Why do artists (filmmakers in this case) deserve funding where other groups do not?

  3. If you are making hammers, there’s not much point in having an independent committee discuss whether your hammers are worth funding or not; the market can decide. No need for funding: bad hammers don’t survive, good hammers sell well.
    Art is not like hammers. For one thing, you can’t objectively assess whether it is good; art by definition is subjective. The marketplace has an influence, but as each work of art is unique — unlike hammers — having a low risk way of creating something the market hasn’t seen before is very important.
    That’s why arts funding shouldn’t have subjective oversight. No one can judge the value of a work of art until it is completed and in the field.

  4. I don’t disagree. What I wonder is why artists somehow deserve funding, when other sorts of work – equally subjective – apparently do not.
    I do disagree with the idea that an art project (of whatever sort) can’t be judged until it’s complete. I have no problem whatsoever with governmental-backed censorship of genuinely offensive ideas, and I do not wish to see my tax dollars used to fund such projects. I’d prefer to see the government tread lightly where such things are concerned, but I don’t have a problem with it treading at all.
    When I say genuinely offensive, I mean things including but not restricted to: violent pornography, counterfactual history (Holocaust denial, f’rinstance), and so on.

  5. Artists, filmmakers or no, don’t deserve funding. Students don’t deserve to get an education for less than the cost of providing it. The elderly don’t deserve a break on the cost of their prescriptions. The government decides how important these and other things it pays for are, and allocates its budget accordingly.
    If you felt a threat to your livelihood (as a philosopher or in your current job) because the government passed legislation which could *retroactively* pull enough funding out from under the people you work for that you’d be on the EI line on short notice, and most of the work in your field was under the same threat, what would you call it?

  6. My only concern, which I get from here ( is the idea of there being a closed-door panel deciding.
    Closed-door proceeding are rarely “accountable” or “transparent”. If there’s going to be decisions, I say make them in a place that’s open to public scrutiny.

  7. Yep, that’s what squicks me out. MPAA redux. I don’t want my tax dollars paying for that even more than I don’t want them paying for stuff society would generally find distasteful.

  8. Well, given that I lived in Nova Scotia while the fishing industry imploded, Alberta when the oil boom busted, and watched a small town in NS turn from a fairly thriving community into a wasteland because the military base was closed, I’d call it “budget adjustments, tough luck.”

  9. Why is it that a majority of the films that are government funded never get seen by the public? It’s because those ‘controversial”‘ art films cannot get asses in seats. What distribution company want to lose money on the kind product that caters to such a slim percentage of the population?
    Up to now, there has been very little restriction on what kind of art should be funded. When artists like Vanessa Tiegs can receive government grant money for smearing her menstrual blood on paper, no matter how ‘beautiful’ some people think it is, we need to start having some kind of proportional representation within the decision making process. She would still be free to produce it, but she would not receive as much money than an artist who would cater to a larger segment of the population.

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