From the Globe this morning we learn that the $40 plus million that the Tories cut from arts funding over the last month will be used to finance their commitments to the Olympics.
Apparently this was part of their 2008 budget that promised to “redirect all savings” from cuts to several Department of Canadian Heritage domains to invest in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic torch relays; the Road to Excellence program which supports Summer Olympic athletes and the Action Plan for Official Languages which promotes bilingualism.
As it turns out the Strategic Review that has supposed to be going on where the Tories uncovered examples of rampant waste in arts funding (a band named Fuck and a left wing Globe journalist receiving traveling money) was really a red herring as the decision was made back in 2007 when they were preparing their budgets.
The Tories will spend $24.5 million on the Olympic torch relay (which apparently isn’t a new event, but is actually people carrying a torch around the world), another $48 million towards preparation of athletes for the 2012 Summer Olympic and an undisclosed amount for the official languages plan.
When it comes to investing in our culture the Tories want to see results that can be measured (such as winning of more metals) and messages that reflect their ideals of what Canada is.
And that also applies to 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
From a memo, marked secret that was released today under an access to information request, the Tories reveal the strings attached to their funding of 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
"The Minister has recently confirmed with VANOC (Vancouver Organizing Committee) in writing that the Department of Canadian Heritage intends to invest $20-million toward the opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in order to ensure that the event adequately reflects the priorities of the Government and helps to achieve its domestic and international branding goals" the memo says.
The message from the Tories is quite simple; arts, culture and sports funding must reflect the priorities of the government and it's international branding goals.
Welcome to Harper's Canada.
References: Funds shift from Globe here and released memo from Globe here.