Canadian Arts Coalition disappointed with federal budget

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      The Canadian Arts Coalition is expressing disappointment with what it describes as a passing mention of the arts in the federal government’s budget.

      “We felt like our sector, over the years of austerity, has taken cut after cut, and we were hopeful that this year, we might have a different result,” said Kate Cornell, a spokesperson for the Canadian Arts Coalition and the executive director of the Canadian Dance Assembly.

      “So we’re just in general disappointed.”

      Cornell noted coalition members met with more than 100 MPs during Arts Day on the Hill in October to advocate for a $35-million increase to the operating budget of the Canada Council for the Arts to support professional artists and arts organizations.

      “We were hopeful that that would be in this budget,” said Cornell. “The arts are mentioned only in passing in this budget.”

      The document tabled by Minister of Finance Joe Oliver today (April 21) does contain $110.5 million for the architectural renewal of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and $25 million over five years, beginning next year, in renewed funding for the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto.

      That facility’s venues include The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage, a theatre, dance, and performance art space.

      The Conservative government is also allocating $210 million over four years to community events celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

      “We are encouraged as a coalition to see that investment, but unfortunately it’s a little bit too late,” said Cornell. “We’ve been talking about funding Canada 150 for years now.”

      She added that it’s unclear whether some of the funding for the celebrations will be allocated to professional artists.

      Also in the budget is a proposed amendment to the Copyright Act to extend the protection of performances and sound recordings from 50 to 70 years.

      The move was applauded by Music Canada, which noted that 70-year copyright terms have become the norm internationally.



      Harsh Reality

      Apr 21, 2015 at 9:02pm

      State funding of "the arts" is a dead end. Cronyism, favouritism and a tendency to follow the herd doom state funding to mostly mediocre "artists." Anyone remember the Netherlands support program for artists and the warehouses of crap that were purchased by the state? That program eventually ended when politicans & bureaucrats woke up and realized "artists" aren't inherently equal and worthy of state support. Arts groups will never be happy with their funding, and the myriad subsets within that umbrella will never be happy with their slice of the pie.

      Tax breaks for film & TV production must end and the money directed towards the range of groups clamouring for access to the government teat: let the for profit "art" sector fund their less monetarily viable comrades.

      Anti-Harsh Reality

      Apr 22, 2015 at 8:30am

      It's always great fun to cherry pick a failed program. Odd that it came from the Netherlands since everyone seems to want to use them as a positive role model for everything else.

      The truth is that funding for the arts has had great success in Canada over the decades and most importantly Vancouver has made great use of funding that came mainly without strings attached. One only has to look at a movement known internationally as the Vancouver School that featured such artists at Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham and Ian Wallace. All are acclaimed and have brought a great deal of fame to our city along with tourists dollars and international students. While those I mentioned (and others) were anything but mediocre, they all benefited from funding at one time or another. It gave them the exposure and confidence to stand on their own feet and now they give back to the arts.

      The main reason funding has dropped is that conservatives have been running the show for too long and profits are all they care about and ' culture' is a dirty word, unless it's hockey culture. Our Prime Minister has said openly that when the 'working man' comes home after work they don't want to look at art. I guess they want to open a mass produced beer and turn on the game.

      Once again, the only answer is to finally turf the Cons, but that's going to take one of the opposition leaders break out and grab the middle and left vote.