Bill C-10 continues to cause a stir on Parliament Hill from the arts industry and concerned citizens. The legislation would allow the federal government the discretion to deny subsidies to films "contrary to public policy." The film industry complains the bill would stifle the production of films that aim to "push the envelope", not make a profit. Others say that's precisely the problem.
Brian Rushfeldt, executive director of the Canada Family Action Coalition says polling proves a majority of Canadians would support the legislation. Moral arguments aside, his comments in a recent article make the case for taxpayers:
"The fact that the bank will not give money to certain producers for certain films without basically being underwritten or guaranteed by the taxpayer of Canada, is an indication in itself that there's a problem," said Rushfeldt. "If a bank thought that it would be a decent production that would be viewed by Canadians, supported by Canadians, and might make a profit, the bank would never insist that the taxpayers underwrite it."The issue isn't a federal concern alone. As the CTF pointed out in a recent column, the 2005 film Tideland received $1.6 million from the Saskatchewan government through tax credits--eight times the $200,000 (U.S.) the film grossed worldwide. Perhaps its low viewership was due to its content. As the Motion Picture Association of America explains, the show was "Rated R for bizarre and disturbing content, including drug use, sexuality, and gruesome situations - all involving a child, and for some language."
It's only one example of films that the public doesn't care to see, yet still have to pay for through their taxes.