Earlier this year, the IATSE voiced its opposition to an omnibus bill which was proposed by the Conservative government and was receiving its third reading in Senate. Bill C-10 called for changes to the Income Tax Act which would have allowed the Federal Heritage Minister to deny tax credits to any Canadian motion picture or television project the ministry deemed offensive. The current system already excludes granting tax credits for pornography. The proposed bill would have gone even further by excluding anything deemed offensive or not in the public interest.
On April 16, John Lewis, a Vice President of the IATSE as well as its Director of Canadian Affairs, appeared as a witness before the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce to testify on the IATSE’s behalf, along with representatives from a number of labour organizations and industry stakeholders.
Vice President Lewis testified on the devastating effect Bill C-10 would have on the livelihood of the men and women working in the motion picture and television industry, should Bill C-10 be implemented. As the bill would have determined eligibility for tax credits only after a production had wrapped, Lewis emphasized the destructive impact on financing in the industry.
Faced with mounting criticism of its treatment of the arts and culture industry, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced, one week prior to the federal election, that the Conservative Party will rescind the controversial provisions contained in Bill C-10.