Conservatives mixing politics with funding for the arts

Posted on August 27, 2008 in Governance Debates, Inclusion Debates – Opinion/letter – Conservatives mixing politics with funding for the arts
August 27, 2008

Re:Conservatives are big fans of culture, arts, Letter Aug. 26

Star writer Martin Knelman’s assertion that the current federal government’s slashing of spending on the arts and the cinematic arts in particular should be alarming to all Canadians not only because of the effect cuts have on an ever-struggling arts community but moreso because of the way in which these decisions are made based on political motives bordering on paranoia.

Jim Flaherty, minister of finance and minister responsible for the GTA, responds predictably by rattling off endless statistics of a more-than-generous federal Conservative government, followed by the obligatory stab at the Liberals as Flaherty begins his own unofficial political campaign.

His defence becomes somewhat more sinister when he speaks of a government that will decide for Canadians what is artistically relevant and what “will provide real value for money” with respect to publicly funded arts and culture.

It’s become clear that Flaherty and his government’s message to the arts community and Canadians in general in this election campaign is that their vision of arts and culture will be “nurtured and supported” by a Conservative government that will simply not tolerate dissent, even through the arts. We should ask ourselves how can arts and culture be a cornerstone of a free and open Canadian society when the government of Canada continues to base funding on the politics of the artistic endeavour?

Glenn Anderson, Toronto

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