Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Canadians Rally for Arts and Culture Over the Holidays

Eight days ago, three days before Christmas, I urged people to take a moment out of their holiday preparations and contact new Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff in defense of Canadian arts and culture. Although getting people's attention over this period is a tall order the response has been good. So far, that I know of, more than 280 people have contacted Iggy and urged him not to allow Harper's conservatives to take politically motivated hacks at arts and culture while he prepares a 30 billion dollar stimulus for every other industry.

My hope is that every message sent over the holidays will carry extra weight. That the fact the people are willing to take time over the holidays to stand up for the arts will send the message that this is vitally important to us. It is a safe bet that there are ongoing discussions between the Liberals and Conservatives about what needs to be in the budget to prevent the government from falling on January 26. I think it is also a safe bet that attacking arts and culture is not important enough to Harper that he is willing to sacrifice his government and potentially his political career over it.

There is really no telling, at this point, what will happen at the end of January but for those concerned about arts and culture this is an opportunity to insure that the cuts that brought Harper under fire before the last election and whatever new ones he is thinking of do not go ahead. If a coalition government takes over there will be no cuts. If there is an election it is anyone's guess but there will be no cuts at least until a new government is formed, this is our opportunity to make sure that if Harper remains in power that there are no cuts to the arts.

Please take a moment, if you have a Facebook account to add this event, invite like minded people and, whether you have a Facebook account or not contact Michael Ignatieff using this feedback form or by emailing Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca

Remember, even if you don't consider yourself a supporter of the arts, we are in an economic recession and this is a huge industry in Canada
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.

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