An impending change to federal government guidelines on tax credits for movies and TV shows is a threat to artistic freedom and financial stability, critics say.If this so-called Conservative government felt that tax money was being used to improperly fund movie and television projects that do not reflect "real Canadian values", it would eliminate the tax credit in its entirety - that would be the fiscally conservative thing to do. That would leave the market to entirely decide which productions got made. It would likely kill all Canadian-based productions, but it would be ostensibly "fairer".
A tax bill amendment – now before the Senate and poised to become law – revises criteria to exclude tax breaks for shows that bureaucrats regard as offensive or not in the public interest.
Tax credits – approved by the heritage and justice departments after a film is completed – are a vital part of the production process. They're part of the budget plan producers take to lending institutions for up-front financing before filming begins.
Instead, it is going to strengthen the bureaucratic layer that approves and reviews the tax credit eligibility - creating a class of "activist bureaucrats" - which is an entirely socially conservative thing to do.
Further, this change will not entrench morality within the law as social conservatives want. It will position it within a temporary bureaucracy - changed when the government changes. Especially since final word resides with the Heritage Minister.
And, the government will change.
Updated: Fixed some grammar.