Hieronymus Bosch. A late-Medieval Dutch painter and an artist whose work intrigues my son.
This month the Vancouver International Film Festival Society (VIFF) is screening a movie about curators preparing an upcoming exhibition of Bosch’s work. How interesting! How cultural! How … wait a minute: what do you mean I can’t take my son to see the film?
It turns out that if a film is unclassified, the regulations prohibit the sale of a ticket to anyone under 19. How absurd! Furthermore, when a film is classified and those under 19 are able to attend, the VIFF theatre concession can no longer serve its adult patrons alcohol. How ridiculous!
So, I’ve written a letter to Minister Oakes urging her to cut this red tape and I will mail it this evening.
If you share my point of view on this, please write the Minister, too.
The more she hears from BC voters, the more likely the government will address these anachronistic provisions, which make a mockery of consumer protection.
September 2, 2016
Honourable Coralee Oakes
Minister of Small Business, Red Tape Reduction
& Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch
P.O.Box 9054, STN Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W9E2
Dear Minister Oakes,
I had wanted to buy tickets for my family to one of the Vancouver International Film Festival Society (VIFF) screenings of a movie about Hieronymus Bosch, the visionary late-Medieval Dutch painter.
Unfortunately, I’m unable to do so since the movie is unclassified and I cannot buy a ticket for my fifteen year-old son.
My son is an artist and has long been intrigued by Bosch’s work. As his parent, I’m very comfortable in accompanying him to this movie. Its content is cultural, informative, historical, and fascinating. It is in no way a threat to his well-being or his psyche. I think anyone would be hard-pressed to argue that he doesn’t have the maturity necessary to watch this particular film.
In inquiring as to why I was unable to take my son to the movie, I have learned that it is provincial law, not VIFF policy, which demands the classification of films before they can be shown to teenagers. Apparently this law covers only theatrical screenings and DVD releases, but not television nor the internet.
This regulatory policy is based on a logical fallacy that an unclassified film is the same as an unsuitable one. It is a level of red tape that not only hinders operations at VIFF, one of Vancouver’s outstanding cultural institutions, but it also assumes that parents are incapable of determining which movies their teenage children may watch.
The same anachronistic regulations prohibit VIFF from allowing liquor in the theatre on Seymour Street when youth under 19 are present. This seems like an unnecessary duplication of restrictions given that concession staff would be prohibited from serving minors. It also diminishes the experience for older patrons who are denied their full privileges simply because the broader classification of a particular movie expands the audience for that particular screening.
I am writing to ask that you review these particular regulations and amend them at the earliest opportunity. Allow teenagers to attend unclassified movies with their parents’ approval and allow liquor service when a movie audience includes those under 19. That would be an effective red tape reduction and a positive support for small business in the cultural sector.
Thank you Minister Oakes for your consideration of the above. I hope that you will take the measures necessary to introduce a more enlightened approach for screenings of unclassified films in Vancouver, whether at the VIFF theatre or at other locations. Such an approach would facilitate the attendance of teens at film events. It is an approach that will draw in younger audiences, not shut them out and without diminishing the experience of older patrons.
Honourable Suzanne Anton, Attorney General & Minister of Justice
Jacqueline Dupuis, Executive Director, VIFF Society
Rob Gialloreto, President & CEO, Consumer Protection BC
Stepping into a profession, we can expect to be bombarded by acronyms and terms specific to that field. The BC public education system, for example, is rife with them: MoE, BCSTA, BCPSEA, BCSSA, BCASBO, BCTF, CUPE, BCCPAC, HR, F&F, AFG, AbEd, IB, PYP, MYP, IEP, FSAs, standardized testing, needs assessment, self-regulation, special needs, 21st century learning, etc.
Amongst the list of terms is one used to describe the model in which Boards of Education and the provincial government function: co-governance.
But what does co-governance mean?
I decided to look it up and started with the word governance. Here’s what I found:
- government; exercise of authority; control.
- a method or system of government or management.
And “co-”? It’s apparently a variation of “com-” which is defined as follows:
a prefix meaning “with,” together,” “in association,” and (with intensive force) “completely,” occurring in loan words from Latin (commit): used in the formation of compound words…
Putting the two together, I can say co-governance is a shared exercise of authority, control exerted in association with one another, or a partnership system of government or management.
Defining the term is easy, but applying it to BC’s public education system, as currently structured and operating, may be a misnomer.
Because the inherent nature of the relationship is one of imbalance. Public education is financed by public revenues which are allocated by the province.
And if one party in a relationship is the ultimate arbiter of funds, then it may be a challenge to ensure that other critical issues are addressed on the basis of a co-governance model. In the past few weeks alone, we’ve seen the release of a 10-year framework for bargaining as well as the debut of a new website, mostly with little or no direct consultation with Trustees.
I’ll admit it’s not easy when one has a firm grasp of the purse strings to share control, but the current structure is paternalistic and does not lend itself easily to a co-governance model.
And while my call for a Royal Commission on Education is likely to continue falling on deaf ears, here are two things I’d like to see.
First, I would like all eligible voters in BC to vote in the May 14 provincial election no matter what their political persuasion.
Second, I would like the new government, whether Liberal, NDP, Green, Conservative, or other to convene a meeting with Board of Education Trustees. Maybe two from each district. That’s a group of 120 people.
Have a real discussion.
A substantive discussion.
One where Trustees do most of the speaking and elected officials and Ministry representatives do the listening.
And then do the same with each significant group in the education sector.
Compile the results of these discussions, distribute the report, and then put everyone in a room together to see if we can work together to ensure that our children will continue to benefit from a vibrant and thriving public education system.
One that is not characterized, if I may borrow from the philosopher Hannah Arendt, by questions of “what are we fighting against”, but “what are we fighting for?”.
And let’s see, if through dialogue, we can put the “co-” back into “co-governance”.