The slogan at the bottom of David Kahane‘s University of Alberta web page says it all: “Start Something.”
Kahane certainly did. The associate professor of political science–specializing in democratic theory and practice–got an email Thursday from a friend, playwright Brad Fraser, outraged at something he’d read in the Globe and Mail. Attached was the story, “Tories plan to withhold funds from offensive productions.”
Inspired by a Facebook group looking at new copyright legislation, Kahane–contacted by TV Feeds My Family through Facebook–decided to see if he could “help to make a difference around C-10 using such a group.”
The result: within 24 hours, 5000 people had joined “Keep your censoring hands off of Canadian film and TV! No to Bill C-10!” Many were mobilized into action, following the links Kahane provided. They contacted senators and members of parliament and voiced their outrage over this sneaky, 11th hour amendment to a tax credit bill.
The Facebook campaign was part of a storm of protest over the perceived attempt to impose a moral rider onto future Canadian film and television production (see posting below). Talk radio stations were all over the issue throughout the day. The Writers Guild and the Directors Guild of Canada sent out releases calling for a public review of the tax credit guidelines, pointing out the potential production upheaval could cost millions. Letters, faxes, phone calls and emails poured into MP, senate and even the Governor General’s offices.
The effect: by late Friday afternoon, as reported over at Dead Things ON Sticks (all over this from the beginning), Bill C-10 was suspended from Third Reading and being sent back to committee.
That doesn’t mean this is over; don’t stop sending those cards and letters. Find the links to the call to action here. Get in on the democratic rush.
And what a rush it is. Far from being “The death of hope,” as Denis McGrath despaired yesterday, the Bill C-10 kerfuffle could restore faith in the democratic process. This electronic, effective grassroots uprising gives new hope to all of us who shudder at the lack of opposition from The Opposition as well as from a mainsteam media muzzled by conflicting corporate ownership interests. If it is left to the people to be adversarial, well, more power to the people.
Kahane is modest about lighting this fuse. “I’m actually an academic,” he writes, “specializing in democratic deliberation; and so it’s been fascinating both to witness the mobilizing power of Web 2.0 (4000 people in a day — I mean really!), and how chaotic and sometimes infantile the conversations that you get going can be.”
At least he won’t have to mark any of them. Hats off, professor.


  1. Great piece Bill! Very reaffirming to see a grassroots movement take shape and have an impact (hopefully)… And Gayle MacDonald’s reportage in the G&M proves the media still has a vital role to play in the democratic process…disseminator, messenger, watchdog.

  2. First of all, the State has no business in the “creation” of culture – especially when it is done by faceless liberal bureaucrats whose agenda is to defeat conservative policy and unseat the current government – that’s fascism. Bill C-10 is long overdue in correcting the political imbalance in Canadian media. Canadians shouldn’t be subjected to morally bankrupt programming and social engineering disguised as comedy or current affairs.

    “Grassroots movement” my ass.

  3. And it could be stated that the State has no buiness in building automobiles, pumping oil, designing aerospace mechanics or running airlines. But they do!

    In fact most of us don’t want them creating culture either. We’d rather they leave that to those of us that know how to do it. And that’s the problem, they want,to create culture. But they only want their own brand of culture.
    This is not a debate about whether or not tax credits should be given out but rather by whose criteria it happens.

    Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology that considers the individual subordinate to the interests of the state, party or society as a whole. Fascists seek to forge a type of national unity, usually based on (but not limited to) ethnic, cultural, racial, religious attributes..

    Wow! Sound familiar?

    (Apologies, that this post deleted above for corrections)

  4. In socialist Canada the cultural industries are a liberal propaganda machine – gdott thinks he/she is one of the masterminds of creating culture? Why? Did gdott work on Rent a Goalie?

    Bill C-10 is anything but a scam. It’s about accountability. Canadian television has been hijacked by misfits and the message is always the same – USA is bad, Cuba is good, Kyoto will save the planet, you’re lucky to be Canadian, everybody is gay, Harper is Satan.

    Bill C-10 is long overdue.

  5. I agree that the state has no business in the creation of culture, which is exactly the problem with Bill C-10. It allows faceless government bureaucrats to stop the production of culture, based on arbitrary and highly personal definitions of what is offensive. I don’t see how allowing film companies to claim a tax credit so they can save money on production is “fascist”, but using a team of random gov. officials to effectively shut down movies halfway through production is democratic. The Canadian film industry is not part of some liberal conspiracy theory. Anonymous praises Bill C-10 because they see it as forcing the media to be more supportive of Conservatism…yeah, I think someone needs to go read this Wikipedia entry:

  6. “everybody is gay, Harper is Satan”

    Anonymous, are you calling Stephen Harper a gay Satan?


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