Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's not their money!

The current Ministry of Heritage is reviewing Bill C-10 which would effectively allow the government to refuse funding for Canadian cultural projects if they are too 'racy'. The disturbingly broad definition of 'racy' in this case includes material that is too graphic either in sexual content or in terms of violence. The current definition of obscenity and pornography in the criminal code are sufficient insofar as they preclude funding of criminal projects. Any other project should be open to Canadian funding.

The govt's response? Again mixing up the country with an investment bank, a Toronto lawyer argued that they should be able to exercise 'discretion' and choose not to invest their money in a project they don't agree with.

Their money.

Here's the difference between a country and a private investment firm: a private investment firm is made up of principle shareholders who review projects based on their own criteria, usually centred around ROI, but also including their specific goals. A country is a public citizenry whose values and beliefs have coalesced over time. The money in a private investment firm is, well, private, and the money a country's government is disposed to distribute is public. The shareholders in a country are the citizens.

The current government who I hope will crash and burn on at least one of the confidence motions headed for us, is not disposed to make decisions of taste with public money. There is no discretionary latitude for the department of Heritage to use as relating to feel-goodery, and who ever said officials should not have to administer funding to those things of which they disapprove? If I have to fund from my own pocket the purchases of T.A.S.E.R.s for public police, the tax breaks that corporations and investors enjoy under this government and the salary of a Prime Minister and Cabinet for whom I did not vote, they are overwhelmingly obligated to fund cultural projects in this country (at least!) that might be seen by some as distasteful.

Guys, it's not your money.

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