Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ottawa to Cut Costs By Becoming Less Interesting

Initially I was shocked at the city of Ottawa's cuts to the arts. Coming on the heels of Conservative's hate on for arts and culture it will make Ottawa something of a cultural dead zone.

Those that would lose 100 per cent of their funding include:
  • The Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa Bluesfest and the Ottawa

  • International Chamber Music Festival, which get operating funds annually.

  • Several choirs and some dance, theatre and other groups that get operating funds from the city annually.

  • Community projects such as Centretown movies, Propeller Dance, House of PainT and Ladyfest.

  • The Ottawa Book Awards and the Karsh Award program for outstanding artists.

  • Several heritage projects and historical societies.

  • Diversity programs such as the Latin American Festival and the Ottawa Chinese Arts Troupe.

  • "Capacity building" programs that help groups such as the Great Canadian Theatre Company expand and mature.

  • Some larger, more established organizations such as Opera Lyra and the Independent Filmmakers Co-operative of Ottawa (IFCO) would lose 42 per cent of their funding.

    Groups such as the Ottawa Arts Court Foundation and the Ottawa Art Gallery and museums such as the Bytown Museum, which have multi-year agreements to provide services to the city, would see cuts of 10 to 24 per cent, while endowment funds would remain untouched.

    But in addition to the cuts to arts and culture the city is also cutting jobs, health, and social services this includes 700 day care spaces.

    The reasoning behind all of this is strange. Councellor Diane Holmes has been quoted as saying
    "It's going to be a very difficult year," Holmes said, adding that the city is growing and costs are going up.
    Now it seems to me that if the city is growing that revenue should be going up as well (unless the City has been blatantly irresponsible with taxation.) So, for some reason the growth of the city has caused revenues to go down and the city is responding by cutting the attractions and amenities that caused the city to grow?

    All I can suggest is that the city could probably save additional funds by eliminating their tourism ads, or at least changing them dramatically. Without the cultural festivals, and with diminished city services, the only reason to visit Ottawa will be to protest whatever the Conservative government does next.

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