Perhaps the Conservatives should be copying Afghanistan's new ban on five soap operas. Surely they have no redeeming artistic value! Or maybe the Conservatives will create also a Ministry of Virtue and Vice as the Afghans have done.
THE BUZZ: BREAKING ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Minister Verner takes issue with Oscar winner's view
April 22, 2008
Toronto -- Acclaimed director Ang Lee has ruffled the feathers of Canada's Minister of Canadian Heritage, Josée Verner, by criticizing pending legislation affecting the film industry. If passed, Bill C-10 will deny tax credits to Canadian-made films and videos deemed offensive to the public.
During a talk with young Vancouver filmmakers on Saturday, Lee urged them to "make a noise, whatever" to stop Bill C-10. "It's almost like censorship."
Upon hearing of his comments, Verner issued a statement yesterday: "I'm surprised about the comments of Mr. Ang Lee, director of the world acclaimed movie Brokeback Mountain."
In addition to pointing out that Lee, as a non-Canadian, is exempt from being denied the particular tax credit included in the bill, Verner denied Lee's charges of censorship.
"Our government is determined to ensure freedom of expression and will continue to support the production of entertaining and high-quality content," the statement said. "We are reaching out to industry to work with them on Bill C-10. Together, we will find the best solution for the industry, for Canadian citizens and taxpayers."
That raises another issue for critics of the bill such as writer Susan Swan, the chair of the Writers' Union of Canada. She says the arts community has no intention of working out guidelines with the minister. Swan was in Ottawa last week to deliver this message to a senate committee.
"None of the delegates from the other arts organizations at the Senate banking committee last week expressed any interest in doing it," she said. "There are already guidelines in place for government funding of film. Why would we want to add another tier?"