In the Globe and Mail Margret Atwood writes on the Harper Conservatives™ cuts to the arts. She explains how this is not in truth about targeting “elites” but is in reality about targeting Canadians of any socio-economic status or political persuasion.
The Conference Board estimates Canada’s cultural sector generated $46-billion, or 3.8 per cent of Canada’s GDP, in 2007. And, according to the Canada Council, in 2003-2004, the sector accounted for an “estimated 600,000 jobs (roughly the same as agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, oil & gas and utilities combined).”
Perhaps Mr. Harper feels there are far too many Canadians employed in Canada and therefore jobs are expendable.
This sums up my thoughts about Harper and his neo-con co-oped Conservative party perfectly;
What’s the idea here? That arts jobs should not exist because artists are naughty and might not vote for Mr. Harper? That Canadians ought not to make money from the wicked arts, but only from virtuous oil? That artists don’t all live in one constituency, so who cares? Or is it that the majority of those arts jobs are located in Ontario and Quebec, and Mr. Harper is peeved at those provinces, and wants to increase his ongoing gutting of Ontario – $20-billion a year of Ontario taxpayers’ money going out, a dribble grudgingly allowed back in – and spank Quebec for being so disobedient as not to appreciate his magnificence? He likes punishing, so maybe the arts-squashing is part of that: Whack the Heartland.
Or is it even worse? Every budding dictatorship begins by muzzling the artists, because they’re a mouthy lot and they don’t line up and salute very easily. Of course, you can always get some tame artists to design the uniforms and flags and the documentary about you, and so forth – the only kind of art you might need – but individual voices must be silenced, because there shall be only One Voice: Our Master’s Voice. Maybe that’s why Mr. Harper began by shutting down funding for our artists abroad. He didn’t like the competition for media space.
Read the full article here
h/t skdadl @breadnroses