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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Al & Mike Show Episode 39 - Rage Against the Liberal Machine

Al MacDermid sits in again, Jay Currie joins us as usual. We talk about arts funding, the Liberal platform and assorted other stuff. Great show!

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Posted by Mike Brock on September 24, 2008 in WS Radio | Permalink


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Re: Arts Funding Cuts

I'm a past Artistic Director for a summer music festival, so I don't think one could accuse me of not recognizing the importance of funding for the arts. But I do have two points to make on the funding cuts controversy.

First. I'll give you a practical example of how the public can perceive that public funding is at times for the rich and famous. In 2008, the grant deadline for Heritage Canada applications for events in the second half of 08 was in January. This made sense. For 09, the deadline was Aug.31 of this year, then extended a month. Our festival is in August, and by the time our all volunteer organization had recovered from "festival exhaustion", the deadline had passed. No time for an AGM or planning sessions for 09, no time to apply for a Heritage grant.

So who does this change benefit? Well, the bureaucracy for sure, because now they have twice as much time to dawdle over probably half as many applications. Also likely benefactors are the big time arts organizations who have paid staff to plan and apply for grants 1-2 years in advance. From our perspective, it sure does give the impression that the Ottawa bureaucracy is snuggled happily in bed with the arts community elite.

Second point. In Canada, it seems to be written gospel that once a funding program is started, it can never be canceled, no matter how out of date or how poorly it meets its intended objectives. From arts or sports organizations right on up to corporate welfare bums, they squeal like a three year old whose mother is finally weaning the kid from the mammary gland.

The arts community, rather than vilifying the government and screaming that they are "entitled to my entitlements" (remember that phrase?), might try a more cooperative approach to developing new funding programs that could meet both arts community and public needs.

Keith Alexander

Posted by: Keith Alexander | 2008-09-24 11:55:45 PM

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