Monday, December 22, 2008

Tell Mr. Ignatieff to Block Arts Cuts

So there is apparently a big stimulus package coming from Ottawa. The general guestimate at this point is that it will be around 30 billion dollars with money for auto makers, forestry, oil companies, and just about everyone else.

I've pointed this out multiple times already but, beyond it's many less tangible benefits arts and culture is also an industry and a big one:

  • 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.

  • My purpose here is not to disparage aid to other industries, or even to call for more money for arts and culture (although arts and culture investment reliably brings strong returns on investment.)

    What I would like to see in the budget though is no new cuts and a return of the government dollars that the Conservatives previously cut, including cuts to PromArts, Telefilm's New Media Fund, the Trade Routes Program, the A-V Preservation Trust, the Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund, the National Training Schools program, and a rumored $200 million dollar cut to the CBC that the Conservatives would like to sneak in.

    These cuts (real, proposed and rumored) were all politically motivated to begin with and would come to less than 250 million at a time when the government is planning a 30 billion dollar bailout. The cuts will not result in much savings, and will certainly cost jobs and economic activity.

    Additional funds would be nice but I would urge Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals not to pass a budget that includes a politically motivated kick at arts and culture during an economic downturn.

    Please use the feedback form at to urge Mr. Ignatieff not to allow the Conservatives to attack the arts and culture industry while handing out billions to every other industry.

    You Can Also Use the Facebook Event page to urge others to act:

    1 comment:

    Zed Guy said...

    The Trade Routes link is 404ed... no it's probably not a government conspiracy.