Thursday, March 06, 2008


Got your attention?

Film guys like me love titles that get your attention. "Teenage Caveman", "Hell Comes to Frogtown", "The Four Cheerleaders of the Apocalypse". I've actually been considering a post titled "Teenage Pussy" so I can monitor the monstrous jump in traffic as people stop by to see the photos I want to put up of my 13 year old cat.

I can't lay any claim to thinking up the phrase "God is a Fat Black Dyke". I heard it on CBC Radio's "The Current" this morning. Unfortunately for those anxious to see increased ratings at CBC, it's not the title of a show they're debuting next season either.

Nope, those words come straight from the lips of the Reverend Charles McVety of the Canada Family Action Coalition, the same evangelist who took credit for convincing the Harper government to amend the current rules for film and television tax credit certification.

Apparently, a couple of years ago, the good pastor targeted Anik Press which had received Federal funding to publish a book entitled "The Little Black Book for Girls", described by the publisher as "a book on healthy sexuality written by youth for youth and vetted by medical doctors and health professionals".

You can hear all this in an audio clip of the entire affair here. Click "Part Two". The story begins 14 minutes in.

According to Rev. McVety, the book was "pornographic and disgusting" and he quoted a particularly offensive passage, "If you want an image for God, she is a fat black dyke".

Problem is -- that line isn't in the book.

Such details didn't seem to matter to our moral cursader, whose religious zeal apparently extends to taking the name of his own Lord and Saviour in vain if it manages to rile up the faithful and earn some headlines.

Last week, Rev. McVety was quoted in the Globe & Mail here, taking credit for Bill C-10 through his lobbying efforts on the matter "which included discussions with Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and 'numerous' meetings with officials in the Prime Minister's Office".

He backtracked on that somewhat after the anti-C-10 firestorm erupted within the film community and both ministers named quickly went public to say such discussions never took place.

As of this morning, a spokesperson for Heritage stated that the amendment to the Tax Credit process was an internal decision "within Heritage (not in response to pressure from an evangelist or other political sources, but as an initiative within the department)..."

So, apparently, the man who would like to dictate our national morality was lying -- once again -- and continued to do so when he reconfirmed the remarks in numerous other media formats.

Now, I'm not going to be too hard on Charles for behavior that some might describe as bordering on pathological. He comes from a world where people regularly claim that God will cure your arthritis if you just force those painful digits to wrap themselves around a pen and scrawl them a check.

No, my problem is that Stockwell Day and Rob Nicholson and officials inside the PMO seem to regularly give people like Charles the time of day. It doesn't appear to matter that Charles and his ilk have a "talent for fiction" or will say anything outlandish to gain traction for their causes -- they get listened to.

And somehow us regular Joes who work in the trenches and know how the pieces really go together don't....

If Heritage is finally telling the truth and not just trying to spin its way out of a completely embarrassing situation -- then matters are even more troubling.

You're telling me some government clerk who figured it might be more efficient if all the creative industries used the same form instead of having to print two different ones got the C-10 amendment through Parliament?

No wonder Health care doesn't work and our submarines catch fire underwater.

Not only do our elected representatives (from all parties) not read a bill before passing it; but their staffers make decisions without taking a moment to wonder if there might be some serious economic ramifications that could kill the very industry that provides them with a government job!

If Stockwell Day, Rob Nicholson or anybody in the PMO takes one more phonecall from Rev. Charles McVety, they must not only resign their offices, but they should be sent to have their heads examined!

Why do politicians have so much time for people who lie to them?

Cast your mind back less than a month to the CRTC Hearings on the CTF. Link up with those tedious videos on CPAC (sorry CPAC, but you've really got to work on developing some style) and you'll see Ottawa in action.

The guys with money or a pulpit are listened to. The writers and other artists who appeared might just as well be talking to themselves.

At those hearings, Quebecor promised a $100 Million fund for new programming -- on the very day their publishing division was seeking creditor protection against being forced into bankruptcy!

I've often wondered if anybody who sits on the CRTC actually watches television, but now you have to wonder if any of the Commissioners read a newspaper!

I mean, come on, if Quebecor had $100 Million lying around, don't you think they'd pay the phone and Hydro bills over at Publishing before becoming a patron of the Arts!?!

Maybe our politicians are so used to lying themselves that what people like Charles and Quebecor and Jim Shaw say to them makes complete sense.

And perhaps the people who work for them are so busy figuring out new methods of cubicle efficiency that they don't have time to dig into what's been said and offer some enlightenment.

Which also says to me that 25 or 30 thousand people joining a Facebook group isn't going to change things.

Back in November, I wrote about a police officer who wasn't getting a posthumous Cross of Valour because of a bureaucratic screw up in Ottawa. The last time I checked, more than 60,000 people had signed a petition seeking to right that wrong -- and nothing has happened.

30,000 people concerned about the Arts? Not even halfway to getting noticed on the Hill, let alone being considered a force to be reckoned with.

Writing MPs and Senators and joining interest groups is all fine and dandy. But it's time we started being far more active in addressing the concerns in our industry.

If the Prime Minister's office has time to conference with Charles McVety, they can damn well make some time for the tens of thousands of people who work in the film business.

In closing -- Rev. McVety, if I've said anything here that personally offends you -- well -- forgive me. If you really are a true Christian, I know you will. Perhaps your passions and your Pride just got the better of you -- and we both know what that "goeth before" -- don't we?

I hope you'll take a look at what damage your words can do in future. It's something those of us who write for a living consider every time we pick up a pen or sit down at the keyboard. Most of us believe that if you can't make an argument honestly than maybe there's a problem with that argument.

And, hopefully, a very long time in the future, when you finally go to your ultimate reward and meet your Maker, you won't be too upset if She turns out to be a fat, Black dyke.

Because, as we both know -- she just might be!


Anonymous said...

McVety appears to have had ulterior motives of his own. His new book, referred to in my post below, just happened to be released on March 1st, the day after he found himself in the media spotlight. Hmmm.... Remarkably fortuitous timing.

Here's a link to my post:

Red Devil said...

A clue to why Stockwell Day is taking the calls of people like Charles McVety, is that he himself has a pretty 'funny' idea of how the pieces go together. People seem to have forgotten that Stockwell has an intriguing history.

Anonymous said...

Very good post. I wonder where this is all going to end. It's so discouraging lately. Ah, well, this too shall pass - sooner rather than later, please.