Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fortunately the Arts and Culture Sector Has a Strong Sense of Irony

Before the election Stephen Harper swore we weren't going into recession, he said he wouldn't run a deficit and he was waging a non stop assault on arts and culture (the Mayor of Ottawa still is. The funny thing is now that we're in a recession, and headed into a deficit arts and culture will be one of the few industries that help keep it from getting worse. As I pointed out repeatedly during the election:
  • According to the Board of Trade arts and culture, both directly and indirectly employ 1.1 million people, generate 84 billion in economic activity and accounts for 7.4% of GDP.

    Arts and culture, according to the Canada Council employs "roughly the same number of jobs as agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, oil & gas and utilities combined".

    According to the Government of Canada's website for Trade Routes Canada's cultural exports equal 5 billion dollars annually.
  • What's more arts and culture are pretty recession proof. During the great depression Hollywood (the southern one) saw a golden age. We were introduced to Humphrey Bogart and Jimmy Stewart. The Marx Brothers hit the limelight and films like King Kong, Gone With the Wind, the Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, Angels With Dirty Faces, Boys Town and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington gave people an escape from their everyday lives during tough economic times.

    In this particular recession it is likely that the falling dollar will actually boost the sector as US production comes north to take advantage of the Canadian dollar. So as bad as the economy is and as bad as it is likely to get it won't get as bad as it could.

    The arts and culture sector, belittled by Harper and vilified by most conservatives will continue to provide jobs - both directly and indirectly and provide economic activity, tourism, consumer activity and will keep tax dollars flowing into government coffers (no doubt to subsidize other industries that conservatives are more fond of.)

    I would suggest that the conservatives might learn a valuable lesson from this, but they won't. Fortunately the people who make up the arts and culture sector have a strong sense of irony and we can all at least have a good laugh (or at least a knowing smirk) over it.

    1 comment:

    Nikki Commatose said...

    I love that photo of him. It's so wrong in every way. I've had it saved for a month or two now. Every now and then I pull it up and get a case of the creepy-shivers.