The controversial new Canadian movie Young People F—ing has an improbable champion in Premier Dalton McGuinty.
While McGuinty admitted he was “not familiar” with the romantic comedy that opens nationwide tomorrow, he defended the fact it qualified for and received an Ontario film tax credit.
The premier also took a swipe at the federal Conservative government’s proposed legislation, Bill C-10, that threatens to strip such tax credits from movies that Ottawa deems offensive. “I’m not particularly in favour of getting involved in censoring various artistic endeavours,” he said yesterday.
“I just think there’s trouble down that path if we start making those calls as elected officials when it comes to what has and what does not have artistic merit.”
McGuinty cited architect Daniel Libeskind’s Royal Ontario Museum extension as a work of art that has generated some negative publicity. “There are a lot of people who commented on the Crystal at the ROM. They say they don’t like it. I think it’s fantastic, I think it’s provocative,” he said.
“But I just don’t think we politicians should be getting into lending shape to building designs, what poetry is acceptable or not, and what movies are acceptable or not.”
Young People F—ing’s producer Steven Hoban praised the premier’s stance, saying he was “really happy” to hear McGuinty’s support when it comes to film tax credits.
The locally made movie, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, cost $1.4 million and received a $120,000 federal tax credit and an $80,000 provincial credit, said Hoban.
“A movie like ours wouldn’t have happened without the tax credits. We’d be making it in New York state,” he said from Oakville.
Hoban noted the cast and crew of Young People F—ing paid more in federal income taxes than the production received in tax credits.
There are 127,000 people working in a domestic movie industry that has already been battered by a strong Canadian dollar, he added.
NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale-High Park) said she was “relieved” by McGuinty’s comments, because the federal government’s moves with Bill C-10 are ominous.
But Progressive Conservative MPP Bob Runciman (Leeds-Grenville) supports the planned federal legislation. “It’s a difficult area when you get into censorship, but in terms of government funding and tax dollars I think there should be a clear demarcation in terms of what’s suitable for tax dollars to support,” said Runciman, adding he didn’t know much about the film, but the title suggests something “taxpayers would probably not be too damned enthused about their money going to be put into.”
Source: Toronto Star