Friday, April 18, 2008

Canadian Film Tax Credit Legislation Stalled, Evangelist Charles McVety Laments


"It's not about Charles McVety. Who am I? I'm nobody. I am irrelevant in this process. But I have been someone--this evangelical that people can take a shot at...because of my faith and because of the religion that I belong to." --
Rev. Charles McVety doing a very bad job playing the role of a religious minority and a victim this week. (The Globe and Mail, 04.17.2008)

Ottawa, Canada
--It's unsurprising that evangelist activist Charles McVety--president of the Canada Family Action Coalition (CFAC)--is unhappy about the current version of legislation that would revamp Canada's Telefilm tax credit fund and how it's going to be distributed in the future. The vast majority of Canadian media are against the current version of the bill that would grant unprecedented powers to the federal Heritage Minister (an appointed position), allowing them wide-berth in defining what films violate "public policy," and deny tax credits to those productions. This could occur even after Telefilm approval of tax credits for a movie or television project, and banks could get cold feet over future domestic productions thanks to these provisions of the legislation.

McVety wants another version of the bill that would go drastically further in curtailing which films get made, and which ones won't. Yet he won't define what is and isn't a violation of public policy in Canadian media. Fortunately, his recent outbursts might be a sign he and his allies have been told that they won't be making any of those decisions as political appointments in the future. According to McVety, he's "not a lobbyist," yet he certainly acts a lot like one. McVety had likely spoken too soon on the legislation back in February, having taken credit (not a tax one) for the very existence of the current bill being debated in the Canadian Senate's banking committee. Now, he's flatly denying it.

Naturally, the Tories are still bullish on the idea of this bill passing, but with the recent RCMP raids on their national offices, it could get the backseat. The entire banking and commerce committee don't appear to like Mr. McVety or his dubious agenda of blanket censorship:

Dr. McVety did not appear to have supporters of any stripe around the committee table.
The Conservatives were cordial, but seemed preoccupied with refuting allegations that government lobbying on the part of Dr. McVety had prompted the legislation.

The Globe and Mail reported in February that Dr. McVety had claimed credit for the proposal after discussions with Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.

Dr. McVety backed away from that yesterday.

"We had no discussions about this legislation [Ed.-Called "C-10."] period. We didn't even know it existed. We didn't know it until The Globe and Mail called us the day after they had put this provision on the front page of their newspaper. We had zero knowledge of it. We had no specific meetings on this," Dr. McVety said.
("Film tax credit proposal falls short, evangelists says," The Globe and Mail, 04.17.2008)
The politicians on the liberal and conservative sides don't appear to want to have any impression that there is an association between themselves and "Dr." McVety, and the subject himself is trying to backpedal on his claims of virtual authorship of the current tax credit bill. Why is that? Because it's bad political theater.

Should we take Charles McVety at his word this week? Of course not. That's asking to believe much of anything he has to say outside of his circle of believers--believers in yet another false social prophet-cum-influence peddler. McVety sounds more like a Father Coughlin than a Jesus Christ. This week, almost all he could talk about was a controversial film that has yet-to-be-released in Canada: "
Young People Fucking," and like many, it was funded partly through Telefilm and the Canadian tax credit. The reverend appears to be a little too obsessed with young people fucking, frankly. Like it or not, this is what Canada's media is great at.

If you know anything about Canadian cinema's success, it's that it's edgier than boorish American fare--it has its own niche, and it takes more creative-risks. As far as North America's concerned, it's the freest form of cinema left in an ocean of Hollywood conglomeration and meaninglessness-of-content. Interestingly,
C-10 doesn't punish foreign movie and other media productions from receiving the same funds, irregardless of whether they violate "public policy."

Only Canadian productions fall under this provision of
C-10, and it isn't hard to understand why this is so: monied American productions don't want to be affected, and the biggest ones don't want any Canadian competition. Enter creatures like Charles McVety, a Trojan horse if ever there was one. The Liberal Party's senators weren't buying what McVety was selling, and were practically belittling his testimony before them on Wednesday. This is how things are supposed to work, and it's obvious Canadian government is a little healthier than her American counterpart. But not much.

Charles McVety isn't just obsessed by "young people fucking," however, but by homosexuals: another film called "
Breakfast with Scot" was another object of attention by the evangelist during his testimony before the suffering Senate banking and commerce committee. This shouldn't be a surprising tactic on-the-part of the evangelist and the shadowy interests he presumably represents, and was used to dramatic effect in the 2004 elections here in the United States. It's the politics of division and minority-baiting. McVety on "Breakfast with Scot":
Breakfast with Scot, released last fall, is about a gay ex-hockey player and his partner caring for a young orphan who displays less-than-masculine tendencies.

"(It) is about an 11-year-old boy who is being raised by a homosexual Toronto Maple Leaf to be a homosexual," said McVety. "... This is not something that the government should be (funding)."

Toronto-based filmmaker Laurie Lynd said he was "appalled" by McVety's description of his movie.

"The film is a gentle family comedy about self-acceptance and loving your child for whoever he or she is," Lynd said in an interview. He added that losing public financing just before production "could have killed the film completely."

McVety would not say how he would define entertainment that is "against public policy," instead listing titles such as The Masturbators and Young People F------.
("Activist decries tax break for gay comedy," The Toronto Star, 04.17.2008)

Like all would-be censors, Charles McVety wants us to believe that he knows best, and that he knows smut when he sees it within his own mind. Indeed he does, and he's far-and-away more obsessed by so-called "smut" and "pornography" than the rest of us here in North America. But are any of these films genuine "pornography"? No. This isn't the case, and these reactionary elements know this. Statutes already exist under Canadian law that bar public funding of pornographic productions.

McVety's congregational rank-and-file likely don't know this, and it's even money that they've all been told not to ever watch the aforementioned films. A Canadian-blog named "Slap Upside the Head" adds some pertinent insight into the McVety take on "Breakfast with Scot":

McVety—who previously claimed responsibility for Bill C-10, but has since backpeddled—summarized Breakfast With Scot as a film about “an 11-year-old boy who is being raised by a homosexual Toronto Maple Leaf to be a homosexual.”

Ignoring, for a moment, that the notion that someone can be raised to be homosexual is rejected completely by the psychological, medical, and academic community, I’m amazed by this misclassification. Either McVety has never seen the film, or he is lying about what he saw. ("Lobbyist: No Tax Credits for Adorable Gay Comedy," Slap Upside the Head, 04.18.2008)

Well-connected activists like McVety appear to have very robust sexual imaginations, but have they even seen these movies? Why do they have such easy-access to politicians? These kinds of acts of political theater are familiar to Americans looking across-the-border at the Canadian versions. They fall-short, and the strings are showing. It's likely that they extend from the corporate boardrooms, Hollywood, right-wing think tanks, and the evangelists congregations of America. Canadian autonomy is being assaulted on all fronts.

Fat, smug demagogues like the Rev. Charles McVety are the avatars of this push, and they and their unfortunate supporters should be resisted aggressively .

"Activist decries tax break for gay comedy," The Toronto Star, 04.17.2008: http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/415391

"Film tax credit proposal falls short, evangelists says," The Globe and Mail, 04.17.2008: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/freeheadlines/LAC/20080417/FILM17/national/National

"Lobbyist: No Tax Credits for Adorable Gay Comedy," Slap Upside the Head, 04.18.2008: http://www.slapupsidethehead.com/2008/04/no-credits-for-gay-comedy/