Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Lobby Night in Canada

This Magazine Staff

A loose coalition of Canadian arts groups is travelling to Ottawa next week to deliver an enormously important message to federal politicians — Canada’s arts and culture industry is a huge contributor to the Canadian economy, yet we continue to treat this sector like it can eat air.

From a recent Canadian Arts Coalition press release:

Canada’s artists and arts organizations are an economic force at the creative heart of the $39 billion cultural sector — bigger than the agriculture, forestry, mining and oil and gas sectors combined. Without the imagination and creative engagement of Canada’s artists, Canadian society would be impoverished.

Public investment is pivotal to the complex financing that supports the arts. Yet Canada’s current contribution to the arts lags far behind most of its European counterparts both in per capita spending and spending as a percentage of gross domestic product.

The federal government’s primary vehicle for arts support is the Canada Council for the Arts, which supports 2,100 arts organizations and a similar number of individual professional artists. Since 1998, the Canada Council has seen a 50 per cent increase in the number of applications from arts organizations and a 30 per cent increase from individual artists. Each year, 12,000 eligible arts organizations and artists must be turned down for support, resulting in an enormous loss of creative potential for Canada.

Oh, how many times have I counted myself among the dreaded 12,000? I’ll be knocking on office doors on the Hill next Tuesday. If you want to help, write your MP. MP addresses can be found at this link:

Members of Parliament

… and you don’t even need a stamp to send an actual letter—how cool is that?

Demand a doubled (at least) budget for the Canada Council.

You know, unless you DON’T believe in publicly funded culture (bring it on).

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