La Scena Musicale

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Arts Cuts Explained in Gazette

Arthur Kaptainis, writing in today's Montreal Gazette, explains some of the impact of the Conservative government's Arts Cuts, especially championing the $4.7 million PromArt program:
I can live without the Canadian Memory Fund, and so can you. Cutting PromArt, however, is bad policy. By all means keep it in mind Tuesday

Kaptainis also takes issue with the $3.8 million for
Another big line item is $3.8 million for, an online encyclopedia of Canadian culture broadly defined (wildlife photo galleries, family genealogies and homework tips, as well as arts links). Quite a nifty site, though not something I would expect to gobble so much money. Anyway, you have probably never heard of it.

We have heard of it, and three years ago, we participated in a discussion they organized for an online arts events database, which would have made it more relevant. LSM's online classical music calendar is the largest Canadian database on the arts events, and we were ready to lend our expertise. Sadly, those plans never materialized, although there was talk of a partnership with the Canada Council. Kaptainis probably has never heard of because of poor marketing. was initially rolled out with billboard advertising, but there was no sustained marketing in arts publications or PR to arts writers.

Kaptainis however takes to task Margaret Atwood:
Her acceptance speech in Montreal after winning the $10,000 Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix in April 2007 was a similar fulmination against the supposedly troglodyte tendencies of the Harper government. That speech came a day or two after the same government announced a $30-million hike to the annual budget of the pre-eminent arts fund, the Canada Council. My impression then was that the great lady was not aware of the news, widely enough reported. My belief now is she does not care.

My feeling is that Atwood cared about the Canada Council, and the fact that then Heritage Minister Bev Oda did not honour the promises she made during the 2006 election campaign to honour the $300 million increase to the Canada Council budget that the Martin government had made before calling the election.

- Wah Keung Chan

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

French Debate: Harper on the Defense on the Arts

The most telling part of the arts portion of last night’s French debate was Stephen Harper’s two attempts to justify his comments on artists as spoiled children. Pressed by NDP Leader Jack Layton to repeat his September 24th remarks in French, Harper avoided the question, but said about artists, "They work hard like other Canadians, but at the same time we have to recognize it's a bit strange to see a gala that's generally subsidized by the government and they're complaining that we cut into the arts." Harper repeated the same line to Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion. The excuse came across as disingenuous. The fact that Harper repeated the statement demonstrates his patronizing attitude towards the arts and underscores the Dion’s charge that Harper advocates being big brother, silencing decent. Harper’s main defense, that his government increased arts and culture funding by 8%, was refuted by Green Party leader Elisabeth May, who spoke that the increase was for the Department of Canadian Heritage as a whole, whereas actual arts funding had gone down. Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe also took Harper to task on this fact. The best Harper could say was that his tax credit for children enrolled in arts courses would help create jobs for artists. Stéphane Dion however said that the Liberals would double funding to the Canada Council to $360 million.
- Wah Keung Chan

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Canadian Election Set for October 14, Arts Coverage Begins

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced the next federal election for October 14. Coming on the heels of over $40 Million in cuts to Arts programs, we expect that Arts and Culture will be a significant issue in the election. La SCENA / La Scena Musicale / will be following the Arts policy of the election. Visit for regular coverage.

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