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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 14, No. 2 October 2008

Arts Platforms

by Rebecca Anne Clark / October 13, 2008

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As the election approaches, artists and arts lovers alike are concerned about the future of arts funding in Canada. We want our leaders in Ottawa to understand the importance of the arts to the Canadian economy and well-being of the country. Below, we have outlined each party’s arts and culture policies and what they are promising to the country’s artists and art lovers.


Though some Conservative press releases note that they “greatly value and support Quebec’s unique arts and culture,” arts and culture don’t make it onto their list of priorities. The Conservatives’ key policy issues are “sovereignty, leadership, the environment, health care, lower taxes, child care, crime and accountability.”

If elected, the Conservatives promise to:

› -Pledge $25 million to TV 5, with $15 million to go to TV5MONDE, to increase Canadian content on the international market.

› -Ensure the CRTC is bilingual: the Chairperson to alternate between anglophone and francophone candidates and French-language or Québécois broadcasting hearings will be overseen by panels of francophones and Québécois.


The Liberals recognize the economic benefits of the arts, as well as their contribution to innovation, heritage, quality of life, diversity, and the making of “liveable communities”.

If elected, the Liberals promise to:

› -“Double the budget of the Canada Council for the Arts to $360 million annually, reversing the cuts recently announced by the Conservative government to arts and culture.”

› -Invest $25 million in a “Canadian Digital Media Strategy” to create jobs in the industry, $26 million in international arts promotion and $16 million in the Museum Assistance Program. They hope to increase the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit to 30%.

› -Support income-averaging for professional artists – making income tax easier on artists.


The NDP understands that funding is necessary to keep fostering new talent. They recognize that “arts and culture are the bedrock of our identity,” that the arts industry “sustains thousands of well-paying jobs”, and that the arts are vital to heritage and progress. They opposed bill C-10 (which would deny tax credits to films deemed “not in the public interest”) as well as the digital copyright bill and Harper’s arts cuts.

If elected, the ND promise to:

› -Provide $125 million in arts funding

› -Call for more funding for Canada’s public broadcasting.


The Bloc recognizes that culture is one of the “three fundamental pillars” that Québécois identity relies on. However, they lament the fact that all cultural funding is directed at promoting “Canadian” culture, without giving Quebec its own unique voice.

If elected, the Bloc promises to:

› -Ensure Quebec is responsible for the management of its own telecommunications and radio broadcasts, by way of a non-governmental organization, in order to better control content.

› -Push for greater recognition and support of Québécois cinema as an entity independent of Canadian cinema. They want to see $50 million for the arts, including $20 million earmarked for Québécois cinema.

› -The Bloc is in favour of income averaging for artists and the abolition of the GST on books.


The Green Party recognizes the economic benefits of arts funding, including boosts to tourism and small businesses, the generation of “clean” industries, and improvements to the morale of the citizens, who would then feel an improved sense of community, pride in identity, and enjoy a general sense of well-being.

If elected, the Green Party promises to:

› -Increase funding for “The Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada, orchestras, theatres and publishers” parallel to funding increases for other sectors such as health care and transportation.

› -Ensure that the heads of the CRTC, Telefilm Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the CBC will not be appointed by political parties.

› -Support income averaging, income tax relief, and access to Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan for professional artists.

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