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Conservatives Deny the Arts

From September 4, 2008

Hidden away within the 500 page, Conservative-tabled Income Tax bill C-10 were a couple of lines that initially went unnoticed in the House of Commons. These lines, 120.(3)(b) and 120.(16)(a)(ii), assert that film and video productions can only receive funding if the Minister of Canadian Heritage "is satisfied that public financial support of the production would not be contrary to public policy."

Some creators of Canadian film and television say the bill amounts to censorship of the arts. Said actor and director Sarah Polley to a Senate committee, "To say to us, 'Well, you can replace the government tax credit with private money,' has no basis in reality. When you are telling us to make it with private money, you are telling us to leave the country if we want to make anything remotely controversial."

In 2007, the industry made up 7.4 per cent of Canada's GDP.

Adding to the distress within Canada's cultural industry is recent news of deep cuts to arts funding across the board. Approximately $48.5 million in funding cuts have been announced.

Says Gilles Duceppe, "Culture is the expression of a people, of a nation. Attacking it, like the [Tories] are doing, shows they are ideologically short-sighted."