Wednesday, March 5, 2008

News Release: Censorship Concealed in Federal Bill C-10 Disturbing

March 5, 2008

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Saskatchewan Arts Alliance

ACTRA Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative
Saskatchewan Film Producers Association
Saskatchewan Motion Picture Association Saskatchewan Publishers Group
Saskatchewan Writers Guild

For immediate release.


Saskatchewan arts organizations condemn the form of censorship of artistic production being introduced by federal legislation Bill C-10 Amendments to the Income Tax Act, now under review by the Senate.

Slipped into the Bill is an amendment that could have a chilling effect on Canada’s film and television sector. Bill C-10 would allow Canadian Heritage to pull financial tax credit aid from Canadian film and television for productions “contrary to public policy” standards.

“The proposed amendments will destabilize the film and television industry in Canada. The federal tax credit program is integral to production financing structures (generally between 5 and 10 per cent of the overall budget). If this bill is approved, this necessary funding could be revoked or withheld based on personal feelings regarding content, thus discouraging other investors from participating, with disastrous effects on the industry,” says Kevin DeWalt, President of the Saskatchewan Film Producers Association.

Brenda Baker, Saskatchewan writer-performer says, “This is worrisome. It is akin to censorship and is unnecessary. The Criminal Code already has provisions in place that define what is contrary to public policy. This amendment is a grave threat to free creative endeavor.”

Brenda Niskala, Saskatchewan Publishers Group Co-executive Director notes that the impact of Bill C-10 could set a far-reaching precedent for similar future repression, “It is the thin edge of the wedge. Guarantees of freedom of expression are an important bedrock of Canadian society and must be protected.”

Sask. Motion Picture President, Rob Bryanton comments that, "Uncertainty about whether a particular project may or may not be deemed "contrary to public policy" down the road will keep important projects from being made. The wording of this bill allows an abstract and subjective level of censorship which will encourage only the "safest" material to go into production, and this is not a healthy environment for the creation of intellectually stimulating or culturally challenging expressions of ideas."

The Saskatchewan arts community calls for the removal of this offending amendment from Bill C-10.

For comment contact:

ACTRA
Mike Burns, 757-0885, Regina

Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative
Felipe Diaz, 757-8818, Regina.

Saskatchewan Film Producers Association
Richelle Bourgoin, 530-4012, Regina

Saskatchewan Motion Picture Association
Rob Bryanton, 790-4008, Regina
Anand Ramayya, 221-8664, Saskatoon

Writing/Publishing
Brenda Baker, 653-3245, Saskatoon
Nik Burton, 777-0170, Regina
Brenda Niskala, 780-9808, Regina

For additional information:
Marnie Gladwell, Executive Director
Saskatchewan Arts Alliance
#205A 2314-11th Ave., Regina, SK. S4P 0K1
t. 306 780-9820 f. 306 780-9821
director@artsalliance.sk.ca
SAA Website