Members of a Canadian film and television guild on Wednesday vowed to back the creation of a Charter of Rights and Freedoms for their film and TV industry, their largest employment cohort, after Bill C-76, the Competition Act repeal, becomes law. The Charter, which seeks to increase the government’s ability to regulate private industry, is expected to become law in the fall.
What’s at stake is the livelihood of Canadian film and TV writers, directors, actors, producers, camera operators, grip and electricians, managers, technical assistants, designers, props and models, script supervisors, voice-over actors, composers, musicians, illustrators, technical directors, designers, production assistants, sales and promotions representatives, caterers, gaffers, security and facility managers, sound mixers, publicists, copywriters, publicists, visual effects supervisors, assistant directors, sound designers, advertising and market research professionals and scholars, graphic designers, publicists, audio, video and graphic artists, music, sound mixing professionals, engineers, producers, directors, talent agents, writers, script clerks, trade mark registrars, technical supervisors, sound designers, music supervisors, editors, sound mixers, audio technicians, sound design professionals, sound editors, sound engineers, visual artists, film, advertising and marketing specialists and more.
“The Canadian film and television industry as a whole needs a Charter to protect the next generation of talent from inequality, manipulation and the extraction of digital currency from their work,” said the Canadian Performers Guild to the audience.
Representatives for the American Film Institute also came out to show their support.
“From No. 2 box office for last year’s ‘Moana’ to the fifth highest grossing film ‘Black Panther,’ a film is only created when Hollywood asks for it,” said CPAG National Secretary General, John Hargrave, and he was only one of five unions who spoke at the rally.
A petition, an online protest, a collection of videos and photos about the cultural, artistic and intellectual nature of a society, showed the power of the Canadian film and television industry through these examples of the histories of American TV shows, books, award shows, advertising campaigns, film clips, music, jazz, language, aesthetics, and the very customs of the Canadian and Americana together.
“The cultural landscape in Canada is weaker than in the United States,” said National Secretary General at CPAG, Steve Maxwell, who has been lobbying and speaking on this for years.
“For decades, not because the Constitution says so,” said Maxwell, “Canada has created a system based on assumptions that are outdated and beneath our proud collective imagination.”
Mark Wallace, former Consul General for Canada in New York, stepped up to speak after Maxwell’s presentation and he wanted to make the point that his country had followed a similar path on its own.
“Without NAFTA there would be no Canadian film industry and Hollywood would never have come to Canada to look at our talents,” said Wallace. “If we follow this path in doing C-76 to ‘out the Jews,’ Hollywood will never trust a country again. Hollywood won’t trust us as a creative society and it’s a warning to Canada.”
While Hollywood has prevented more Canadians from achieving Hollywood dreams, America’s own version of the Canadian Charter, the American Creative Workforce Act, created in 1993, also saw the inception of a film fund, among other things, to help producers hire Canadian writers and writers’ commissions.
“At least the American producers have been very engaged,” said Jay Hunter, a producer, who attended the rally and was standing with the American Film Institute in support of the Canadian workers. “They have work placements and jobs.”