“It’s All Right Now,” said a heading in the Toronto Star on Sunday, January 29, 1988. “Films that would once have been routinely banned or restricted in Ontario,” the paper explained, “are now passed by a censor board that has quietly cast off mid-Victorian prudery and joined the late twentieth century.” The board has not banned or snipped a mainstream movie in months. Films which would have been restricted are now classified AA (Adult Accompaniment) – children under 14 are admitted if accompanied by an adult.
Anne Jones, who replaced Mary Brown as chairman of the Film and Video Review Board in September 1986, by appointment of Attorney General Ian Scott, says, “I think the board is more liberal and it needs to because it has to reflect the winds of change in the community.” Other members of the board agree. James Coombs comments, “I think the group was maybe mid-Victorian for a while. It didn’t reflect what the public thought – only a vocal minority.” Irene Keroglidis also thinks the public’s concerns have changed: “Rampant sex used to bother people more than violence. Now the feedback shows it’s the other way around. I’ve changed because community standards have changed.
Rose Dyson head of “Canadians Concerned about Violence in Entertainment,” notes that films with extreme violence are slipping into AA and even PG (Parental Guidance) categories. Elizabeth Gomes, a vice-chairman of the film board agrees saying that she is concerned about the amount of violence in most films and that the attitude of some board members is that “Its aimed at the kids – so make it AA.” Mrs. Dyson also points out that, though the Ontario government said in 1985 that it would compel video distributors to put a sticker classifying videos on every cassette, it has not yet done so; it too is taking a lenient attitude to violence. In other words, Ontario no longer has any standards at all.
Free Trade in Porn
Catherine MacKinnon, outspoken American advocate of legislation against pornography, warns that a flood of pornography will cross the border into Canada because of free trade. It is doubtful that such subterfuges will prove successful. If the Mulroney government had the will, it would easily find a way to stop porn. But like the Ontario government, in a “pluralistic” society, it flounders on the ever illusive and disintegrating “community standard.”
Ted Bundy, the U.S. mass murderer recently executed by the electric chair in Florida, confirmed just before his death what solid research has shown long since to be the case: exposure to pornography decreases and ultimately disintegrates the viewer’s ability to see abuse of women as wrong.
Most recently the link between sex crimes and violent pornography as once again been clearly established by the research of Dr. John Bradford, head of the sexual behaviour clinic at the University of Ottawa. His findings, a letter writer to the Toronto Star pointed our “are a direct indictment of violent pornography and kiddy porn, which are deliberately calculated to feed…deviant fantasies. In cases too numerous to mention here, the sex offender has been a consumer of pornography.
The letter concludes “The porn industry on this continent is bigger than McDonald’s.