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Monday, September 22, 2008

Voting for the Arts

Election Day in Canada is just over three weeks away, and I think it's important to devote a post to where the parties stand on funding for the arts. First, I'll direct you to a website with some resources and suggestions about making the arts an issue in this election: Canadian Arts Coalition.

Conservative Party
I had a difficult time finding much about the arts at all on the Conservative Party website. There is one announcement about increasing funding for TV5 Quebec Canada and TV5MONDE. Earlier this year they increased the Canada Council for the Arts' budget by $30 million, although then cut other various arts agency's budgets by $45 million in August.

Liberal Party
The Liberal Party has promised to restore $45 million in funding cuts recently announced by the Conservatives, as well as double annual funding to the Canada Council for the Arts over the next four years. Museums and international promotion of Canadian artists would also receive funding boosts, while the tax credit for film and video productions would increase. Interestingly, they would also commit to focusing on new media by developing a "Canadian Digital Media Strategy". Their platform also makes mention of income-averaging for artists that will "better reflect the peaks and valleys of the artistic work cycle." All the info can be found on pages 11 - 13 on this pdf document.

NDP Party
The NDP Party does not seem to have a specific party platform for the arts, although they responded to the recent Conservative arts cuts with this condemnation. Overall their general stance seems to be to support artists through increased public funding and "better rules around Canadian content."

Green Party
Of all the parties, the Green Party has the most prominent arts and culture policy. I would encourage you to visit the link above, as it is the most comprehensive position I've seen from any party, and an excellent example of what Canada's arts and culture policy should be. Among their many recommendations they suggest increasing funding to all of Canada’s arts and culture organizations, supporting community arts groups and facilities, and extending tax relief and incentives to artists. This sentence from their platform pretty much sums up their position: "Arts and Culture are at the heart of well-being for the citizens of this nation. The Green Party of Canada is thus committed, by any economic measure, to strong support for the individuals and organizations in Canada who create, produce, consume, perform, distribute, and market Arts and Culture at all levels of society."

Bloc Québécois
The Bloc's website is French-only, and if they have an English version, it's not very apparent. While this isn't altogether surprising, it doesn't really help me in discovering what their position on arts and culture funding is. They too condemned the recent Conservative funding cuts to the arts, so we can assume they support increased, or at least stable, funding for the arts in Canada.

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