Bill C-10 and the censorship question

“Canadian TV news has been hopeless in capturing the meaning of the implied censorship behind Bill C-10,” writes John Doyle in a Globe and Mail column. The omnibus bill would change the Income Tax Act, and also give the heritage minister the discretion to deny tax credits to any production deemed contrary to public policy. Critics say that would give the government sweeping control over what films are made.

“For some reason, TV reporters and producers resist tackling the issue head-on,” says Doyle. “Perhaps it’s because it’s more complex than showing some shouting during Question Period. Perhaps it’s because there’s a reluctance to admit that we actually have a culture, one that matters and that it is known to be provocative. It’s exasperating because the issue seems made-for-TV. It can be illustrated with clips from movies and TV shows. Film directors and TV writers are eager to talk about it. Yet it’s been newspapers and magazines that have kept the issue alive, not TV.”

Doyle is baffled about why the censorship issue has been underplayed in TV media, especially, he writes, because “I’d wager that if you asked most people what might make them truly uneasy about the Conservatives, it’s the possibility of a hidden, far-right agenda lurking beneath the surface of this government.

“What might make people think again is the fact that a Christian evangelical leader, Charles McVety, was boasting about his influence on Bill C-10. What might alarm them is the resulting spectre of a book-banning, art-hating, censor-happy, small-minded conservatism lying dormant but now stirring in this government.”

(Hey, John, tell us what you really think.)

Michael Geist has some background, and a few thoughts of his own.