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Canadian culture back on the national agenda

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

National Arts Training Contribution Program will get an additional $20-million over the next two years ...Read the full article

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  1. Stephen Green from North Saanich, BC, Canada writes: This is not required and should be reallocated to a much greater priority. Canadian Television is a complete joke. In fact all arts funding should be removed with the exception to museums.

    If artists can not make a living in what they do, they need to find another job.
  2. Antonio Bach from Canada writes: What Canadian culture? The guitar scratching garbage we hear on CBC Radio2?
  3. Tom G from Canada writes: Canadian culture? Which one? I hope you don't mean the whining and complaining one because that is positively endemic.
  4. Claire Hall from TO, Canada writes: Anyone who thinks Canadian artists don't deserve funding is part of the reason why they need it. Canadians don't place nearly enough value on their heritage as they should, ergo, not enough people buy Canadian art. That doesn't mean it should go away. If you want to live in a world without culture and without art go back to the neanderthal age where you belong.

    Life has to be about more than just subsistence, even more so when times are tough.
  5. The Cascadian from Canada writes: Sorry, there's a difference between appreciating art and handing a blank cheque to an organization which has the odious habit of funding the laziest, least artistic garbage that serves only to enrage the vast majority of Canadians on the squandering of their hardearned money. Why is the idea of artists actually earning their pay so hard to grasp?

    I agree with Stephen Green - our museums on the other hand deserve more funding, what with things like complete dinosaur skeletons being held in inventory for decades.
  6. Horsefeathers 'n wildrice from Canada writes: Cascaindian....you make a good point. However, I must digress.

    For too long we have been bombarded with the tabloid guci'z of Holywoods latest..when..and in what cultural frame do you invison to promote the spirit of a nation
  7. Horsefeathers 'n wildrice from Canada writes: Don't ya think it's time we all TRY to get along?
  8. Allan Ross from Vancouver, Canada writes: To Steven Green and The Cascadian - why are you singling out the artistic and cultural sectors? What about the bailout money that is going to industries such as the auto sector? Should taxpayers money go to propping up an archaic business that has failed to keep up with the times?
  9. Robert Dryburgh from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada writes: .....Allan Ross from Vancouver...... Stop bailout funding for auto sector...... Yea right. These people actually work to support their families and pay a lot of taxes. It's about time these paper clip artists and those who congregate under the skirts of the CBC get a dose of the real world. I have no sympathy for their perceived entitlements.
  10. the group of one from France writes: Preserve Canadian culture and it's heritage. It's not until you move away that you see how other countries cherish theirs and try to preserve and also nurture it. It's by encouraging the public by expanding their knowledge and by supporting the artists that we can grow as a country. Support the Arts!
  11. Samuel Pepys from Canada writes: Believe it or not, artists actually work to support their families, and pay taxes as well. It is curious to see many ignorant and ill-informed readers insist on making comments on this subject. You truly have NO IDEA. If the arts disappeared, much of the life YOU take for granted to disappear too. No television to watch, no books to read, no clothes to wear, no films to go to, no concerts, no music, no fun after a hard day's work...
  12. Kim Philby from Canada writes: Art, music, dance, literature, theatre, film - none of these is essential to our survival. And yet, they are common to virtually every culture. I guess they give our existence some colour and depth, so that life is more than just working, eating, and sleeping.

    I suppose maybe the Taliban have no truck with art and music and all that stuff. You want to live like them? I don't.
  13. dwight steadman from Fort Macleod from Canada writes: We need more support for homegrown cinema, films that tell strories about life in Canada for ourselves and for the rest of the world. Rather than blowing millions of dollars on consultants and marketing hacks for 'branding', a dozen quality, exportable Canadian movies a year would put this country on the map and give jobs to thousands of people. Look what great movies the French keep churning out, and they even make money!
  14. dan donahue from Canada writes: I'm an artist, I work, pay taxes,own a home, studio and cabin, employ many and spend a ton doing what I do. I also produce close to a hundred thousand albums a year which garner a couple of million dollars in sales which produce roughly a 150 grand in sales taxes. Now let's set that against the so called 'real' world where public sector unions rule the roost
    and then tell me artists have it easy and produce,contribute little to society.
    The real farce here rests with how many ignorant Canadians still exist and are content to remain that way.
  15. Jay Jay from Toronto, Canada writes: Judging from the negative comments here, Harper was fairly correct when he said that the average Canadian doesn't care about the Arts. To be more accurate he should have said 'the below average Canadian' (likely those who favour of violence in hockey).
  16. Mister Fartleberry from Toronto, Canada writes: All this from a party that lost their majority by stiffing the arts with great glee. Past experience has proven that much of the money just goes to program advisors and accountants, not the recipients. Anyone remember Cretien's 'Tomorrow Starts Today'? What a disgrace.
  17. A Canadian Girl from Toronto, Canada writes: Can they help me with my online magazine? I'm not just some fashion rag - I actually write about up-and-coming designers (though not all Canadian), review restaurants and try to make the site 'affordably sophisticated' (which is more than I can say for MANY Canadians here...some seem to need a semester or two at a finishing school). http://prospere-magazine.com
  18. Jenn R from Canada writes: This myth that artists don't work for a living is ridiculous. Most of them put more hours into their craft than the average Canadian worker puts in at their jobs. They pay taxes, they buy homes, they employ people, they provide relatively low cost entertainment options for families, and they represent our country abroad. To suggest otherwise is disingenous. The sector is responsible for more than 7 billion in annual revenues, employs more than a million Canadians and receives very little funding comparatively. The ROI on government funding to the arts is actually substantially better than it is in most sectors.
  19. james m from E-town, Canada writes: Robert Dryburgh: Wow. What a cold, narrow-minded, pathetic existence you must lead. I'd say more but I have to go to my job, to pay my taxes, to pay my mortgage, and to support my family. And yes, I work in the cultural sector.
  20. Bubbles McBubbles from Trawna, Canada writes: Stephen Green from North Saanich, BC, Canada writes: 'If artists can not make a living in what they do, they need to find another job.'

    Thank you, Mr. Green. This is a fine reminder of what Stephen Harper really thinks of artists.
  21. Liberal logic is an oxymoron from Canada writes: Canadian culture. Isn't that an advertisement for a new cheese. Oh, wait, that's Canadian Reserve which has nothing to do with first nations.
  22. Bob Duvan from Toronto, Ont, Canada writes:
    Government wasting money on the whining parasites of the artsy-fartsy crowd is unconscionable. Support of culture by governments should be confinded to two items:
    1) the preservation of cultural heritage through museums and in a targeted manner a few major orchestras and the like
    2) ensuring that government buildings are an asset to their communities by offering appropriate architecture rather than being some of the worst blights on the streetscape as is the case now.

    As far as the so-called artistic communities go, we are already indirectly paying horrendous (unprogressive !) taxes to support the entertainment mafia (they'd like us to think of them as cultural) through the ridiculously mandated cable packages. Much of the garbage included is nothing more than filler to mask the gouging taking place.
  23. Valkyrie 23 from Guelph, Canada writes: Stephen Green from North Saanich, BC, Canada writes: 'If artists can not make a living in what they do, they need to find another job.'

    You can barely make a living working at McDonalds and Walmart, but no one tells them not to do their jobs. I guess it's because not enough people see the intrinsic value in art and culture - they value Walmart as important, and music, literature and visual arts as illegitimate concerns. Please, hang out in your Walmart and enjoy your $12 IKEA painting, I wouldn't want you to take up space in a museum.

    Oh, and I'm not an artist - I write in my spare time but I have a 'legitimate' job... truth be told, sometimes I'd rather be a struggling writer - maybe I'd get more out of life?

    Money given to the arts should not be given to TV - it should be given to museum, artists, and literary studies. TV is NOT culture - TV is CRAP.
  24. Nullstellan satz from Canada writes: Canadian culture is an oxymoron
  25. Jenn R from Canada writes: Bob Duvan, you propose that only museums and some orchestras should receive funding. What exactly do you think should fill these museums? And why just museums? Why not public art galleries like the National Gallery of Canada or the AGO? Are they not 'museums for paintings'? And why fund 'a few orchestras'? Is performance of classical music written for the most part by non-Canadians the only acceptable form of music? And why only fund big ones when it is the small orchestras that actually need the funding to grow?

    And preservation of government buildings? Most government buildings are in fact office buildings, and many of them are owned by private interests that rent the space to the government. Should we be pouring public funds into preserving private interests?

    And finally, your point about cable TV is ridiculous. Telecom companies like Bell, Rogers, Shaw, Cogeco etc. are not a part of the cultural sector and the money you spend on cable/satellite tv in no way goes to the Canadian arts sector. Perhaps you might want to turn off the boob tube and pick up a book and read once in a while. A Canadian book even. If you haven't tried it, you're missing out on some of the world's best authors (many of which have received government support to create, market and/or sell their award-winning products).

    P.S. - those 'whining parasites' in the 'artsy-fartsy' crowd contribute more than 7 billion yearly to Canada's economy and employ over 1 million Canadians. The subsidies they receive are a drop in the bucket comparatively.

  26. N J S from Canada writes: 'I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, 'The Beatles did'.' --Kurt Vonnegut
  27. Joe Dick from Kingston, Canada writes: Harper is fat and hates the arts.

    Oh wait, that was last years lib talking point. Now that this article is buried at the bottom of the page I guess libs are now saying.

    Harper is fat and loves the arts.
  28. Opera Lover from Canada writes: I'm no fan of the Conservatives but the investment in arts festivals is a good (and relatively cheap) way of stimulating a part of the economy. Festivals bring out the crowds (local and tourists) who spend money on tickets, dinner, drinks after the show, etc. This is on top of the employment that it creates for the festival's artists, adminstrators and stage crew. So, it brings money to both artists and local businesses (and doesn't cost billions).
  29. Kim Philby from Canada writes: Nullstellan satz and intelligent posting is an oxymoron.
  30. Dude, where's my Canada? from Canada writes: No, Conservative ethics or decorum are the oxymorons.
  31. C Gardner from Canada writes: The arts community points out that funding arts provides employment directly and indirectly, and this employment pays taxes on their income etc.

    The other side of the fence (for lack of a better term) points out that funding industry provides employment directly and indirectly, and this employment pays taxes on their income etc.

    Yet neither side seems to buy the other's point. Too funny.
  32. Reality Check from Paris, France writes: .

    Claire Hall from Toronto ridiculously writes: 'Anyone who thinks Canadian artists don't deserve funding is part of the reason why they need it - Canadians don't place nearly enough value on their heritage as they should - if you want to live in a world without culture and without art go back to the neanderthal age where you belong.'

    Hello?

    It looks to me that Claire Hall he is the one who needs to learn about art! Seriously!

    For his information, there was plenty of art 'back in the neanderthal age'. In that period, the art included carved masks and also carved flutes and cave paintings.

    But, even more to the point, it was that so-called 'primitive' art that led to the massive transition to modern art from about 1890 to 1930.

    I suggest that Claire Hall do some reading on primitivism and its role in the genesis of modern art, including all the visits to the decorated ancient caves and archeology museum exhibits made by some of the leading modern artists of the turn of the last century.

    There have been entire museum displays on this subject! Does Claire Hall not get out to the exhibits often enough?

    He sounds awfully self-certain about art for a person who is spouting ignorant nonsense about art.

    Incidentally, as far as anyone can tell, the elegant and complex and widespread and very beautiful caveman-era art of tens of thousands of years ago was produced without any taxpayer money!

    .
  33. Bob Duvan from Toronto, Ont, Canada writes:
    Hey Jenny Rl,

    ' Why not public art galleries ...? Are they not 'museums for paintings'? ..'
    Of course they are, as long as the money is spent on art that has been validated by the passage of time. That is the kind of original art that few ciitzens can afford to own. It is a legitimate role of the government to make our cultural heritage accessible to the public including the country's youth and artists. That is different from governments caving in to unestablished artist/artisans and their commercial promoters to buy from them stuff that private collectors won't touch at their dreamed of prices.

    As for orchestras, we can't afford more than one or two international class professional ensembles of each type to reflect the highest standards. There is nothing wrong with local amateur endeavours to supplement them. I doubt very much that the original performance of any Beethoven symphony sounded anything like one by the NYS.

    I don't know how you conclude that I am talking about building preservation. What I refer to is the lack of any quality public architecture in recent decades. In Ontario the last decent building goes back to Leslie Frost and John Robarts. Since then nothing but revolting minimum cost uni-plan boxes have been inflicted on the province.

    Nor am I sure how you conclude that I am addicted to the 'boob tube'. But it's irrelevant.
  34. Saskatchewan Free and Strong from Mongolia writes: dan donahue from Canada writes: I'm an artist, I work, pay taxes,own a home, studio and cabin, employ many and spend a ton doing what I do. I also produce close to a hundred thousand albums a year which garner a couple of million dollars in sales which produce roughly a 150 grand in sales taxes. Now let's set that against the so called 'real' world where public sector unions rule the roost
    and then tell me artists have it easy and produce,contribute little to society.
    The real farce here rests with how many ignorant Canadians still exist and are content to remain that way.

    Never heard of you.....but anyways.....what do you do for a living?
  35. Mark G from Toronto, Canada writes: Waste of money. Funding for complete garbage. It will literally be used for booze, (drugs) and countless galas. Not to mention the purchase of high over-valued garbage art. Think voice of fire here.....

    But I think Joe Dick is right. Ultimately the govt has succumbed to leftist pressure.
  36. The Bubble from Canada writes: These comment sections are getting cliche. People who don't understand or at least appreciate art and culture are stupid. People who come on here and can't spell properly highlight the fact that Canada is a backwash.

    'Support of culture by governments should be confinded to two items:'
    -Bob Duvan from Toronto, Ont, Canada
    Why is it that people who hate art and culture are also atrocious spellers?
  37. barb johnston from Canada writes: Why is it wrong to subsidize the arts when every other industry (agriculture, auto, tourism etc.) is heavily subsidized by the government? Smart governments invest in the arts because they know the economy will get returns. Artists are not asking for bailouts; they know that they have not entered the most lucrative profession and they aren't in it for the money.
  38. Sam Harris from Nova Scotia, United States writes: What's Canadian culture?
  39. Richard Moore from Writerland, United States writes: .

    Well, Barb Johnson, it isn't just that the money government gives to artists is being wasted.

    It's doing positive harm.

    An arts bureaucracy has grown up in the last few years in various places to formulate the applications, select the judges, and give the right sort of ballyhoo to the recipients. There is no other way for such a system to work. And there is no way to make such a system honest.

    But supposing that it is honest, it cripples nevertheless. Only mediocrity can destroy art. And in every bureaucracy, mediocrity luxuriates.

    Where do the judges come from? The artist organizations, of course. The solid citizens of art who have enough of a reputation to be chosen and nothing better to do than such hackwork.

    And they will reward those who are like themselves. They will constitute a self-perpetuating and endlessly stultifying organization that will ensure the banishment of all true talent to madness and outer darkness.

    Precisely that, I suspect in the depths of my heart, is the true purpose of such a system: to stamp all creativity out of a society which has grown too brittle to endure it.

    Just look at the subsidized industries you yourself named: Automobiles, agriculture, tourism. Blech. All stultifyingly uncreative bastions of mediocrity.

    Please stop asking the government to do that to art, Barb Johnson.

    Please.

    .
  40. HeyBoppaRebop SheBop from Canada writes: Richard Moore from Writerland, United States writes:

    "Well, Barb Johnson, it isn't just that the money government gives to artists is being wasted.

    It's doing positive harm.

    An arts bureaucracy has grown up in the last few years in various places to formulate the applications, select the judges, and give the right sort of ballyhoo to the recipients. There is no other way for such a system to work. And there is no way to make such a system honest."

    So you're saying it becomes all about cronyism and getting grants? It sometimes seems that way to me too. REAL Canadian culture is represented by say, The Trailer Park Boys (which went off TV in '07), also Great White North and Wayne's World. There used to be a big First Nations event in Manitoba with rock groups, comedians, etc., that seemed to go off the map. Same in Quebec, the whole vedette circuit. Real human beings. Also Acadians, Celtic, cloggers, etc. Too often the money goes to non-Canadians for artsy building renos.
  41. Jenn R from Canada writes: Feist, Arcade Fire, Blue Rodeo, Sum 41, Rush, Bruce Cockburn, Tokyo Police Club, George Canyon, Sarah McLachlan, Margaret Atwood, Flashpoint, Kids In The Hall, and Trailer Park Boys are just a few of fine Canadian talents/projects which have received funding that helped get them to where they are today - proudly representing for Canada on the world stage.

    So much for the mediocrity argument.
  42. J Canucklehead from Disband the UN, Canada writes: Any "art" that requires using force to coerce people to buy through the tax system must be crap.
  43. Mikey Gault from Some Bar, Cougar Bait, Canada writes: Jenn R from Canada writes: Feist, Arcade Fire, Blue Rodeo, Sum 41, Rush, Bruce Cockburn, Tokyo Police Club, George Canyon, Sarah McLachlan, Margaret Atwood, Flashpoint, Kids In The Hall, and Trailer Park Boys are just a few of fine Canadian talents/projects which have received funding that helped get them to where they are today - proudly representing for Canada on the world stage.

    So much for the mediocrity argument.

    **

    Umm... I'm not so sure you actually proved the point you were trying to make. Proud of the Trailer Park Boys? Ok...
  44. R. M. from Regina, Canada writes: I was blown away today when a BQ member got up during question period and was angrily attacking the government for not having funding for Quebec artists to travel outside of Canada to promote their work. Quebec, you are a Nation,,,do it yourself!
  45. John Hamilton from Canada writes: As Hugh Garner once observed (a writer who actually made a living selling books), funding the arts wasn't wrong in principle, BUT THE WRONG PEOPLE WOULD ALWAYS GET IT.
  46. HeyBoppaRebop SheBop from Canada writes: Did Joni Mitchell, April Wine, The Guess Who, BTO, David Clayton Thomas, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Gordie Lightfoot, et al, get taxpayer handouts when they were starting out? I doubt it very much. I think that they probably just slogged it out from gig to gig like everyone else. Maybe later when they became famous they might have got some kind of assistance for music videos, etc., that employed a lot of people, but the idea of taxpayers bankrolling contemporary pop entertainers is a rather new thing. Yes, support museums, galleries, blues/jazz/folk festivals, ballet, opera, and support concerts and theatrical productions for artists who have established a name in their field, even if they are underground or avant garde and not generally well-known. But this idea of giving tax dollars to young standup comics with vulgar jokes, or to "conceptual artists" who make sculptures out of meat or do disgusting things for shock value to hide their lack of talent, well that is a waste of money when we have long waiting lines at hospitals. Look at Van Gogh and other masters. They lived simple lives without taxpayer handouts, and sometimes the struggle was part of the soul of their art, like the blues legends who worked 16-hr days and played blues at night. Tax dollars can be used to provide a platform for artists - a stage, a gallery, an opera house - but not bankroll the artists themselves, especially when there are thousands of singers and comedians out there, because who decides which ones are any good? They should get a part-time job. Maybe give them a grant or tax credit for a special project, but not a paycheck. There's not enough accountability. A lot of modern "art" is just radical political propaganda with props and gimmicks.
  47. Bert Russell Paradox, BC from Canada writes:
    Culture and Heritage has become an appeasement fund.

    If you want to watch TV in some exotic language, do so and pay for it. I would love to just pay for my choice of channels ... but I have to pay for a bunch of crap TV that I never watch.
  48. T J from Canada writes: Here's an interesting 7 minute video from 2003 on the challenges the Canadian film industry is under. http://archives.cbc.ca/arts_entertainment/film/clips/9007/
  49. Fremdling E. from Canada writes: From someone who has tried to work within the Canadian system (several books with several different subsidized publishers)...

    Bravo to Richard Moore.

    You tell it like it is, man.

    Does being outside of Canada help you to do that?
  50. Andrei Popov from NYC, United States writes: canadian culture???

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