Anti-Gay Lobby Spearheads Film Censorship Bill

March 3rd, 2008

Film Funding

Charles McVety, president of Canada’s largest anti-gay lobby group, has claimed responsibility for a bill in the Senate that would deny income tax credits to filmmakers who make “inappropriate” films. Once this bill becomes law, the Justice and Heritage departments will vet films for offensive content and withdraw tax credits, even a film has already been completed.

So, what’s the definition of “inappropriate” in this context? The Globe and Mail revealed McVety’s vision in an interview:

Mr. McVety said films promoting homosexuality, graphic sex or violence should not receive tax dollars, and backbench Conservative MPs and cabinet ministers support his campaign.

If McVety’s vision is realised, filmmakers will be pressured to remove any gay content in a film, or face the revocation of their tax credits.

Filmmakers are furious. David Cronenberg, an Oscar-nominated, Canadian director said that this bill amounts to censorship, comparing it to “something they do in Beijing.” The Canadian Family Action Coalition’s press release, however, scoffed at such claims:

Accusations that this [bill] is about censorship are ludicrous. There is no law that says [opponents] cannot produce whatever perverted movie they want to.

Of course, “perverted” films are already restricted by section 163 of the Canadian Criminal Code, and television and film regulations already exist that prevent pornographic and obscene films from receiving tax money. This bill is, instead, about punishing filmmakers based on ideological content.

Surprisingly, this amendment seems to have made it to the Senate without many MPs knowledge. Bill Siksay, an NDP MP, said it was a “significant shock and surprise” to learn that he had voted for the amendment, which was buried deep within a 600-page bill.

(Hat tip to Canadian Cynic)