Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What he said.

So the election here in Canada has been officially called for Oct 14th. Everyone is super thrilled about it. Especially since the current Conservative government said that we would only have elections every four years. Yet, here we are only two years later. Hurrah. It's hard to muster any enthusiasm for this thing, since we're likely to end up with the same government we have now, except maybe they'll get a majority. Wouldn't that be fun.

Granted a minority Government is a fragile thing, but it's not like the Conservatives were being challenged on anything they put forward. I guess, this is probably seen as the ideal time to strike and obtain that majority. But with the cost of an election is sitting somewhere around $300million mark it's hard to justify it. Why not take that money and do...hell, almost anything else with it. Instead they make cuts and call a costly election. Hopefully it will be costly for them politically.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the fact that the $48million cuts to the Arts came right before an election speaks volumes about how much weight the current government puts on Arts and Culture. Harper himself tries to avoid using the term "Canadian Culture" whenever possible, preferring to call it the "Canadian Entertainment Industry." No wonder there's a misconception about the arts and artists.

I know not all Tories agree with their fearless leader and, in fact, The Globe and Mail's Simon Houpt - who is blogging during TIFF - happened upon one such Conservative, ex-PM Brian Mulroney who, surprisingly, had this to say about the Arts and Culture...

"We expanded the aid to the arts enormously. In spite of what is said, we increased the budget of the CBC by 3-and-a-half per cent a year for 9 years, and it reflected my view that culture is indispensable to the well-being of Canada, to our unity, to the manner in which we're perceived in the world, and the manner in which we perceive others. It adds to our confidence, our maturity, and to our self-respect.”

Not exactly an indictment of Harper's cuts but it's pretty clear where he stands. I can almost forgive him for this...


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