Further Proof That the Canadian Entertainment Industry Exists

More C-10 testimony, this time not from industry people but from an arguably more important source: mayors whose cities depend on film/TV crews, and therefore on unambiguous tax credit rules.

I also like this bit at the end:

Members of the house of Commons gave C-10 their unanimous approval but opposition politicians later said the clause affecting entertainment tax credits had escaped their notice.

With today’s technology, it really should be a little harder to miss important things buried in a piece of legislation — I mean, 100 years ago, you couldn’t automatically search a document for every instance of the phrase “contrary to public policy” — but it seems like the problem of legislators not reading legislation is more, not less prevalent.

Maybe I’m hopelessly naïve, but I’ve never been convinced that C-10 was introduced with particularly ill intent. It has an intent I don’t agree with, but I don’t think Minister Verner is entirely wrong when she says that it’s a clarification of rules that already existed. (There are other, subtler ways to censor or cripple the entertainment industry without making the wording as clear as in C-10.) The problem is that when you put unwritten rules into specifically-worded rules, the “Law of Unintended Consequences” kicks in. It’s a bit like in baseball, how every attempt to re-write the rules to redefine the strike zone, telling umpires exactly when and where they’re supposed to call a strike, has huge consequences for the way the game is played. E.g. when Major League Baseball rewrote the rules in 1963 so the strike zone starts at “the bottom of the knees” instead of “the knees,” batting averages dropped by like 30 points in one year. When you try to put into words that which has previously been unwritten, like what is and isn’t “contrary to public policy,” it’s bigger than the few words suggest.

Also from the Globe, more on the Canadian Television Fund business: it’s now up to the Federal government to define a hit show. But this can have no unintended consequences whatsoever.

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