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Conservative conspiracy theories

by Archives March 11, 2008

By now you’ve all heard about Bill C10. Let me add my voice to the throngs of others out there calling for the Conservatives’ collective heads on a pike – although perhaps with slightly less ferocity.
For those of you who are unaware, Bill C10 is a proposal by the Conservative government that basically constitutes of many technical changes to Canadian tax laws. This normally wouldn’t cause Canadians to scream bloody murder, but this time it has.
Hidden away in all the bill’s politico speak is one tiny provision that would allow the Heritage Minister to deny tax credits to certain film and television productions thought to be “contrary to public policy.”
Canadian tax credits, as they apply to film and television can be compared to getting a tax break on your return every year because you’ve donated to charity or have children in university. Canadian projects apply for these credits as a way to lower the costs of production. Virtually no Canadian films make profit in the same way that their American counterparts do, so many of them depend on these credits in order to stay afloat.
Cutting tax credits to “certain types” of productions is censorship. You know it and I know it, but what really scares me is that the Conservatives also know it.
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t believe for a second the Conservative party thought they could slip this provision by us. They knew exactly how the Canadian public would react and my guess is they were banking on it.
Right on cue the public, myself included, is up in arms. Of course we don’t want Canadian film and television to be censored! Of course we will strongly express this opinion by writing letters heavily punctuated with exclamation points! Of course we will postulate our opinions while getting drunk at the pub! We’re Canadian! Don’t the Conservatives remember what happened when the CBC decided not to renew Ron MacLean’s contract? We didn’t stand for that and we won’t stand for this either!
My point is that anyone could guess how we as Canadians would react to something like this, which leads me to believe there is another motive behind it.
Consider this; Telefilm Canada, which provides funding through grants for Canadian film and television projects has a president. Our government appoints this president. If the Conservatives really wanted to censor Canadian projects, they could do so easily by appointing someone who might carry out their agenda.
A new appointment to Telefilm or the NFB would cause little or no ripple effect in the larger public atmosphere and the Conservative government could thus carry out the same goal that Bill C10 would, only with much less fanfare. They could do this. Only they didn’t.
Instead they created a large public dialogue in order to see where their support lies and exactly how much of it they have. Had the rallying cry across the country been, “Yes please pass this bill censoring creativity in the Canadian television and film industry!” you’d better believe the Conservatives would file that away for this so-called election we may or may not be having.
Because isn’t that what it really comes down to? Any government, regardless of whether it’s right or left leaning only wants one thing – to stay in power. And I’m not talking as a minority either.
The Conservatives want to determine public opinion on a variety of topics. Only when it is favourable towards them will they call another election.
That is the nature of government. And the proposal of Bill C10 is feeding right into it.

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