Harper government’s silence on arts issues is “deafening”: Vancouver Sun
Jamie Portman writes today in the Vancouver Sun about why the Harper Tories have been so silent on arts issues this election: because they were so badly burned by the subject in 2008. This time around, the Harperites have chosen conspicuous silence instead. All the more reason for us to confront them on arts and culture policy at every opportunity.
[W]hat has raised the [arts] sector’s anxiety level several notches higher is the Conservative response to a detailed questionnaire on arts policy that was dispatched to all the major parties on April 5 by The Canadian Conference of the Arts.
As of now, the Harper government’s reply has been a deafening non-reply. The most the CCA has been able to get out of the Tories is a bland, automated email from the Prime Minister’s Office, acknowledging receipt of the questionnaire. So, last week, it decided it could wait no longer and made public a hefty, 13-page set of detailed responses from the other parties on wide-ranging issues such as copyright reform, Canada Council funding, multimedia technology and the fiscal problems of self-employed artists. The responses of all opposition parties are thoughtful and informed, and get right down to specifics. The Tories say nothing.
We shouldn’t forget that it was a Conservative government that created the CBC. It was a Conservative government that nurtured the Canada Council in its early years. During the delicate negotiations for free trade, the presence of cabinet heavyweights, such as Flora MacDonald and Marcel Masse, both fervent cultural nationalists, struck a blow for cultural sovereignty. But of course, these were members of a Mulroney government. They weren’t forced to function under the iron control of the prime minister’s office as it exists in 2011.
Read the full article: Tories give arts groups the silent treatment