Letter To MP Olivia Chow Regarding Bill C-10

Below is a letter I sent to NDP MP Olivia Chow regarding the Bill C10, a series of changes to the Income Tax Act, that will allow the federal government to deny tax credits to film productions which they deem to be indecent, offensive, or contrary to public policy. This is yet another occasion when our current Conservative Minority government is attempting to legislate the morality of the nation.If this bill passes how long will it be before the conservatives sneak in similar legislation, for theatre artists, authors, visual artists, and musicians? I know these kind of things are a pain, but I encourage you to take the time to write your local MP to express your concern about this issue. You can use the link provided below to locate their email/contact information. You don't have to
send something as long or as detailed as what I sent. Simply giving your MP another letter to put on the stack of objections will help. If we can convince our government not to support the US led invasion of Iraq, we can stop them from doing this.

Our future as artists is riding on this decision.

Hello Olivia,

I am writing with severe concern about the pending Bill C10 which will allow the government to censor films which they deem to be offensive or indecent. As a gay Canadian Artist, I'm sure you can understand why I would be doubly concerned about this development, since the current government has on multiple occasions demonstrated an anti-gay bias in policy making (a vote against Same Sex Marriage shortly after taking power and the recent ban on organ donations from gay men, for example).

The Canadian Film industry is at a crucial moment in its history. In recent years, artists from this country have finally started to gain international renown for the their work. Artists such as David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, Martin Gero, and others are making themselves known on an international level and contributing to the promotion of Canadian culture abroad. And it is artists like these who open the door elsewhere for independent and less well-known artists. When
international programmers or buyers see successful work coming out of our country, they are more likely to take a chance on other works by Canadian artists.

The current success of the film industry is, in large part, due to the tax credit provided. Without it, many artists could simply not afford to create their work. There is also a significant economic investment that film-making puts into our country. The countless technical personal, administrators, actors, and other artists, whose livelihood depends on films behind made in this country could have their financial situations severely jeopardized by this decision. This is
not just about a matter of taste. People's abilities to provide for their families could be severely impacted.

Below is a excerpt from an article published in the Globe and Mail on February 29, 2008 regarding this issue:

Conservative MP Dave Batters recently urged the new president of Telefilm Canada, Michel Roy, to block federal funding for objectionable films, listing Young People Fucking as a recent example.
"In my mind, sir, and in the minds of many of my colleagues and
many, many Canadians," said Mr. Batters during a Jan. 31 meeting of
the Canadian Heritage committee, "the purpose of Telefilm is to help
facilitate the making of films for mainstream Canadian society - films
that Canadians can sit down and watch with their families in living
rooms across this great country."

First of all, many Canadians actually want to watch films in cinemas as opposed to waiting for it to be released on DVD and watching the at home. Secondly, this is yet another attempt on the part of the Conservative Party to define for Canadians what a "family" is. I would be happy to watch Canadian films such as Eastern Promises, Kissed, or Where The Truth Lies with my family, even though we may not look like Mr. Batters family.

I encourage you to vote against this discriminatory bill which is in its essence, nothing more than an opportunity for our lame-duck minority government to legislate the morality of our citizens, but will in fact be detrimental the promotion of Canadian culture abroad and financially disastrous for artists and their families in this country.


Chris Dupuis

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