Thursday, April 10, 2008

Conservative Logic: No One Has a Right to Criticize Us, Especially Those Most Affected by Our Bills!

So my hiatus will likely continue until next week (April 21 being the end date for all important school matters) and then it will be regular blogging again. But sometimes you read things so ridiculous that you just feel the need to comment.

So I haven't been following closely the discuss of Bill C-10, but from what I've heard some aspects of it sound like completely needless censorship and that the bill has the potential for stifling some good creative work by denying tax dollars to Canadian movie productions that would have gotten them in the past.

Bu today it's gotten more press as Sarah Polley (who is among many actors strongly opposing the censorship aspects of this bill) spoke out strongly against it.

Let's see what points she made:

Polley said that the bill's definition of "offensive" is "extremely vague and dangerous to be using."

"It's the job of artists to provoke and to challenge. Part of the responsibility of being an artist is to create work that will inspire dialogue, suggest that people examine their long-held positions and, yes, occasionally offend in order to do so."

"I know very few filmmakers that would risk trying to try to make a film that was controversial or pushed the envelope or was even interesting in any way if this bill was in place"

Polley said the whole concept of guidelines imposed by the government is dangerous.
"I guess the question here is: who has the right to decide what is offensive?" said Polley.

"In this case, I think it's really dangerous to lay that responsibility in the hands of the minister of heritage. I think we have arms-length organizations that make these decisions very rigorously."

She also noted that the bill includes a double standard when it comes to American films made in Canada. "American productions would actually not be affected and their tax credits would be safe," said Polley. "Which, I think, is pretty problematic and I think shows how sloppy this bill was."

So surely the Conservatives addressed each of Polley's points forthrightly no?

Well of course they did:

In the press release (in response), the Conservatives took specific aim at Polley. She has been a vocal NDP supporter and once lost a pair of teeth when the riot squad aggressively broke up an anti-Mike Harris demonstration outside of the Ontario Legislature.

"Individuals with vested personal and political interests should be honest with Canadians on what their true intentions are,'" said Pierre Poilievre, an Ottawa-area MP.

"Hard-working Canadians are growing increasingly tired of special interest groups telling them what to do."

Seriously, does Pierre Poilievre ever think before opening his mouth? And what goes through Stephen Harper and Sandra Buckler's minds as they approve of him saying things like this?

Basically the message is "how dare you actors who this bill affects most speak against it! You're just a bunch of lefties so your opinions don't matter!"

By Conservative logic if there's cuts to education in the future, we don't need to hear from any teachers. If there's cuts to health care, doctors and nurses shouldn't be allowed to speak. They're all just a bunch of special interests (who are probably too left wing to be taken seriously). Very twisted logic by this Government indeed.

Can any Conservative please tell me how it matters in the slightest that Sarah Poley is an NDP supporter? Why is that worthy of mention in a press release? Are the Conservatives really saying that means her opinion doesn't matter? Is Sarah Poley not also a hard working Canadian who pays her taxes?

And how is Sarah Polley telling Canadians what to do as Pierre claims anyway? She's giving legitimate criticisms of a government bill and virtually all actors and movie producers seem to be behind her on this.

It just seems the Conservatives these days can't stand to be criticized for anything, especially by those who feel the brunt of their worst policies. And they have absolutely no shame in hitting back resorting to the most irrelevant of personal attacks. It's absolutely appalling.

Does it not make sense that those groups most affected by any bill would have a right to speak against it? Do they not have a right to receive a logical response from the government to each of their concerns?

But I guess common sense and decency has never applied to this Conservative Government since Day 1.

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Scott Tribe said...

Pierre is almost causing me to miss Peter Van Loan and Jim Flaherty making public statements.

R. Christopher Edey said...

Hi Danielle,

Can you please explain to me how denying federal tax credits to a movie production (on any criteria) is censorship? Does Sarah Polley's right to free speech include a right to condition-free government funding to produce movies?

Now, I feel the provisions of this bill are rather silly; however, they are nowhere near as ridiculous as the posturing of Polley and co. in calling Bill C-10 censorship, it's not, full stop.

In a post C-10 environment, one could still make whatever movie one wants, you just may not receive a big old cheque from Ottawa for doing so.

[Sarah Polley is] giving legitimate criticisms of a government bill and virtually all actors and movie producers seem to be behind her on this.

Well of course they're behind her as they are the beneficiaries of string-free government handouts. If the government had a money tap running into your kitchen and then proposed to meter it, wouldn't you object? Polley and co. have every right to speak out; however, they are hardly delivering an objective perspective on the issue.


Scott Tribe said...

Well Christopher, even the Heritage Minister thinks this is a bad bill.

A big thanks to the Conservative Senator who forgot to turn his mic off to let us hear that info.

Cara said...

Love your comment. If the Tories had their way the only people who would be allowed to comment on their legislation would be loyal Tories who are unaffected by the legislation! Everyone else is a commie dupe! Bring on Joe McCarthy.