It was so gratifying to read that Bonnie Klein was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of her outstanding films on social criticism and the changes they helped to bring about (Coast Reporter, Jan. 18).
I was working in women’s rights in Vancouver when her controversial film “Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography” was released in 1981. It became a powerful tool for that movement in raising awareness of a darker side of society’s view of women, and was instrumental in inspiring public education and activism on the issue, including debates on censorship versus victimization — debates that continue to this day.
Her comments on choosing Canada in the ‘60s as “a gentler, less violent and more public-minded country” reminded me, with nostalgia, what it was like working for social change and progress in the ‘60s and ‘70s. It truly was, as she described, “an optimistic and open time…just very alive….” Critical and dissident voices could be heard.
It’s certainly not so easy today for progressive and activist groups to have the kind of access to decision-makers as we had then. Our present governments, once elected, ignore large parts of electorate when it comes to making policy, and then seem to foreclose almost every legitimate route available to us to express any concerns, even those related to the actual survival of our environment as we know it.
I for one am grateful to Idle No More for the peaceful and forceful way the First Nations have found to bring public attention not just to their rights, but to this erosion of our democracy.