Legislation allowing a federal cabinet minister to revoke tax credits for film and television productions deemed too racy is “censorship” and will rob Canadians actors of their place on the airwaves, actor Sarah Polley says.
Polley traded the big screen for a star appearance on Parliament Hill yesterday to plead with senators to oppose legislation she denounced as “dangerous and unacceptable.”
The Oscar-nominated actor, director and screenwriter best known for her role in the TV series Road To Avonlea gave an impassioned plea for changes, saying the proposed law threatens not just the artistic quality of productions but the financial future of the industry as well.
“I think ultimately that’s the cost of freedom of expression. We’re all going to see things we don’t like. I see movies that I don’t like. I see things that offend me politically. I see things that offend me morally,” Polley told a Senate committee.
“I choose to debate them, to have a dialogue about them or to turn away from them, not to say that they shouldn’t be allowed to exist and certainly not to give that power to the minister,” she said.
At a news conference before her committee appearance, Polley said it was the job of artists to “provoke and to challenge.”
“Part of the responsibility of being an artist is to create work that will inspire dialogue, suggest that people examine their long-held positions and, yes, occasionally offend,” she said. “Any whiff of censorship is chilling to us.”
But the Conservatives reacted quickly to Polley’s statements, claiming she had a political vendetta against the party.
In the 2004 election campaign, Polley was an active member of the “Stop Harper” campaign, and attached her name to a news release attacking the now prime minister.
“Hard-working Canadians are growing increasingly tired of special interest groups telling them what to do,” Tory MP Pierre Poilievre (Nepean-Carleton) said in a news release. “If famous actors and actresses want to produce materials that are offensive to the majority of Canadians, they can do it on their own dime, not on the backs of Canadian taxpayers.”
Polley pleads case
Legislation allowing a federal cabinet minister to revoke tax creditsfor film and television productions deemed too racy is “censorship” andwill rob Canadians actors of their place on the airwaves, actor SarahPolley says.