Monday, August 11, 2008

I woke up in a new Canada today.

On Friday our Government cut funding to two relatively low cost arts programs

The first being the PromArt run by Foreign Affairs
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) was cutting all ties to culture by axing its PromArt program, a $4.7-million annual fund that sent artists into the world to speak for Canada.
And then later they announced the end of the Trade Routes program run by Heritage Canada
Administered by the Department of Heritage, Trade Routes, valued at about $9-million annually, helps cultural groups such as Hot Docs and CIRPA, the Canadian Independent Record Production Association export and sell products abroad.
Their official reason
Although Kory Teneycke, the Prime Minister's press secretary, declined yesterday to address the decision to close Trade Routes.
In the case of PromArt, we think the [funding] choices made were inappropriate ... inappropriate because they were ideological in some cases, with highly ideological individuals exposing their agendas or [money going to] wealthy celebrities or fringe arts groups that in many cases would be at best, unrepresentative, and at worst, offensive.
Neglecting of course the 297 other grants, some as small as $500 that assisted artists, writers and cultural groups from all provinces travel to foreign countries and help improve awareness of Canada and our Canadian culture.

Meanwhile with much less rhetoric, information and apparently media attention, the Defense Department announced that the national capital region as the home for a new high-tech command centre.
No construction date has yet been set, but Defence officials say the project is scheduled to be completed by 2014. The department also is developing a new $64-million information system to allow data from around the world to be piped into the centre.
It's still unclear what will be the cost of the new facility, but insiders estimate the price tag could run anywhere from $60 million to $80 million.
I apologize to the Gazette for total plagiarism here, but there is only two paragraphs on the $60 to $80 million expenditure.

Welcome to the new neocon Canada.

The hell with the arts, Canada needs defending.

References Globe on the arts here, and Dept. of Defense here.


Anonymous said...

Artists tend to be left of center and more ideological? THE HELL YOU SAY!!! Why didn't I know this was going on?! We need an artist registry ASAP!!!

Beijing York said...

The comments on that Posner article in the Globe and Mail are frightening. It's the same uninformed and reactionary attitude we saw with the censorship clause of Bill C-10 (film and TV tax credit).

There are equivalent programs to every other industry sector in Canada but only the ones focused on arts and culture were cut, to play very well to Harper's political base. PromArt functions much the same way as other federal and provincial programs that subsidize the costs of Canadian businesses attending international conferences and trade shows.

Trade Routes was the arts and culture export initiative that ran in parallel with the Team Canada Inc. initiative to promote Canadian business exports through trade mission participation.

These programs are designed to promote industry growth through exports. The added advantage in the arts and culture sector are raising Canada's international profile and contributing to Canadian tourism.

Meanwhile an investment banker was appointed Chair of the Board for the Canada Council for the Arts, replacing outgoing Karen Kain. This move by Harper is just the beginning...

JAWL said...

beijing york said:

"Meanwhile an investment banker was appointed Chair of the Board for the Canada Council for the Arts, replacing outgoing Karen Kain. This move by Harper is just the beginning..."

That's the part that gets me.

It is the same playbook the neocons ran in the US, place people in charge of the arts, who do not believe in the value of arts, place someone in charge of the environment who was claiming Global Warming was a myth, or someone in charge of AECL whose job it is to sell it to name a few.

It's an insidious shift from a socially conscious nation to a colder darker ideology where we are all just consumers to government sponsored corporations and all in the name of free enterprise.

Our cultural institutions are easy targets, Health Care and Education are next, if this group of hucksters ever gets a majority.