Saturday, August 09, 2008

Silly 'Censorship'

Today's Toronto Star features an article with so much spin, not fundamentally from the reporter, but revealed in quotations, that it actually reveals some very silly things about our country.

The basic core of the story is that the current government has announced its intention to discontinue a government program that had funded trips abroad to promote 'Canadian culture'. Well and good, in my mind; there seems no fundamental national interest to me at least in such a program.

But there are some very interesting comments.

"For me it shows the Conservatives are choosing censorship once again," said New Democrat MP Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas).

Huh??? Not providing taxpayer money to selected people to go on junkets abroad is censorhip? And I assure you this man is not alone; many of our politicians (for obvious reasons - it gives them goodies to hand out), and many members of our cultural elite (for obvious reasons, it gives them goodies to receive) regard subsidies as so fundamental that removing them is censorship. Nope, sorry, not for me. Censorship is what goes on in China and Cuba, not the withdrawal of a free boondoggle.

(By the way there is another similar idiotic debate surrounding a Bill C-10, a proposal originally from the previous government, which would deny subsidies in the form of tax credits given to investors in movies that are deemed objectionable. Note that again, this is not censorship in any real sense, simply the removal of a financial advantage. I do oppose that stupid clause, but largely because it allows the government to act on a whim, and can be applied AFTER the affected third parties' investment decisions are made.)

Another quote.

Liberal MP Denis Coderre (Bourassa) said Canadians don't want the government unilaterally deciding what is culturally acceptable,

"I am totally disgusted," said Coderre, adding the whole thing "smacks of McCarthyism," referring to former U.S. senator Joe McCarthy's relentless obsession to root out so-called Communists in the U.S. in the 1940s and 1950s.

But hang on! What the government is doing should please Coderre - it will now not be making unilateral decisions about who is worthy of a goodie and who is not. Nobody gets this goodie. Moreover, there is no resemblance at all to McCarthyism - the government is not trying to deny anyone the right to try to make a living, other than by rent-seeking.

Now the core of the article is a leaked internal government document that is an analysis of the history of the grant, and it is rather funny to read; somebody not plugged in enough to the standard lefty trendoid orthodoxy takes a look at some of the lefty trendoids, finds their claims ridiculous, and the trendoids don't like it. Some quick examples:
In another case, the North-South Institute received $18,000 to help co-ordinate a Caribbean-Cuban conference in Havana in December 2006. The institute was described as a "left-wing anti-globalization think tank.

"Why are we paying for these people to attend anti-western conferences in Cuba?" the anonymous author asked.

Yeah, and moreover what has it to do with Canadian culture?
Former CBC journalist Avi Lewis, now a reporter with Al Jazeera, was described a "general radical" who could easily afford to travel on his own dime.

A production company, Klein Lewis Productions, co-owned by him and his wife, Naomi Klein, an author and social activist, received a grant of $3,500 to promote the film The Take at films festivals in New Zealand and Australia.

"Klein has sold millions of books, and certainly does not need $3,500 from the government of Canada," the note stated.

That is so mean. After all, they have deep family ties to the NDP core, so surely my taxes should help them enjoy the world. The fact that they are both idiots and rich should not matter.
Former Supreme Court justice Michel Bastarache: $3,000 to give a lecture in Cuba on the Canadian Charter of Rights.

Now I would love to have been there for that!

Now it is true that the reporter has gone out of the way to spin this as much as possible against the government; neither of his money quotes should have been used unchallenged. Or so you might think. But this is the Toronto Star and its charter more or less requires it to labour for the lefty trendoids in the country. This newspaper is at least honest in having no pretence of being objective or fair.


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