The Senate Must Reject Bill C-10s “Censorship” Provisions

Much has been written about the “censorship” provisions in Bill C-10. One might argue that it is not “censorship” but just the government setting standards for what it is willing to fund with taxpayers money. However, as others have pointed out, here are already provisions that prevent “pornography” from being funded. This is much more odious than that.

It is one thing to say the government will not fund “objectionable” content. It is another to say it will only fund content that promotes the goals of the governing party. That is what this provision allows and even mandates.

The key wording in Bill C-10 is the following phrase used to describe what the government would fund:

“(b) public financial support of the production would not be contrary to public policy”

Note the careful choice of words. We are not talking about the “public interest” but about “public policy”. What is “public policy”. What other interpretation could there be other than that it refers to “government policy”, and “government policy” is established by the party in power and changes as governments change.

At best, it is so ambiguous that film and television producers would never know if a film or television program would be eligible for funding or not. At worse, the government would be mandated not to provide public funding to films or programs that are contrary to Conservative Party policy.

Of course the government will argue that is not what it means. If so, why is that what it says.

At least one Member of the House of Commons has admitted to voting for Bill C-10 without knowing that provision was there. That is not surprising. The provision is well hidden in a 600 page tax bill. Simply for the reason that Members of Parliament were not aware of this clause, the Senate should send it back to the House of Commons for reconsideration.

No comments: