Dear Editor

Re: PM should let sleeping filmmakers lie (March 18th, 2008)

Fortunately, Rob Mitchell's tenure as senior aide to former Ontario Premier, Ernie Eves, was short. Either he has had a memory lapse or he deliberately chooses to ignore the findings of the Royal Commission on Violence in the Communications Industry set up and funded by a former Ontario Conservative Government led by William Davis. It's Report, published in 1977, has over 87 recommendations in it, one of them to eliminate funding for extremely violent and pornographic films on the basis of research showing harmful effects. My own doctoral thesis, defended at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in 1995, renewed the call for the elimination of tax payers' dollars on the basis of additional research on harmful effects and long standing concerns about them, in the teaching community, health sector and public at large.

I interviewed those who were instrumental in setting up the Commission, among them the former Premier, himself, Mr Justice Roy McMurtry who was Attorney General at the time and Mr. Justice Lou Beaulieu who was one of the Commissioners. All of them expressed disappointment about how little had been done to implement the recommendations from this outstanding interdisciplinary study, lauded around the world at the time as one of the most thorough inquiries of its kind, but largely ignored in Canada.

Mitchell seems to think that the main consideration of any government is getting itself re-elected, not responsible policy development, especially not on matters that might anger the film and television industries. For Mitchell to conclude that no one except evangelical minister, Charles McVety, is especially agitated by tax credits to the production of popular culture deemed not to be in the pubic interest is blatantly false and inexcusible pandering to the corporate media who have a long history of objecting to anything that might interfere with business as usual.

Their irritation over Bill C-10, that would eliminate tax dollars supporting the production of extremely violent and pornographic popular culture has nothing to do with censorship and everything to do with discretionary funding. Freedom of expression is not the same thing as freedom of enterprise. Let's hope the Harper Government exhibits the backbone necessary to get this bill passed rather than caving to the interests of the corporate media lobby whose sense of entitlement knows no bounds.

Rose Anne Dyson Ed.D. Consultant in Media Education Chair: Science for Peace (Media Working Group), University of Toronto President: Canadians Concerned about Violence in Entertainment