Look who's minding the arts

Staff ~ Transcontinental Media
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Well holy fudge. The federal government has turned another screw on culture.
The Harper Conservatives have decided to axe the $4.7 million budget for
PromArt, a federal program that subsidizes international promotional tours
of artists.
It's largely a budget decision, said a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs:
more disciplined spending.
Well, most of us are all for that. Yet Anne Howland went on to say that some
of the groups, the government felt, didn't best represent Canadians on the
international stage.
Pressed for an example, Howland provided a rock group whose name she didn't
dare say out loud: Holy F--- was one of the acts flagged, she said.
Apart from a moniker of questionable taste, it would be interesting to know
whether politicians or bureaucrats delved into the group's philosophy. It
did provide for the Tories a convenient example that might get a lot of
Canadians nodding in agreement.
But ballet companies, authors and countless acts that mirror the Canadian
soul were also left without this boost from their country folk.
Canadians with an eye for culture enjoy performers and other artists who
visit from abroad. They're all over the place in Nova Scotia and elsewhere,
particularly during the summer, often performing in our heritage buildings.
Those who attend get a glimpse of that particular culture or country, and
they get a glimpse of us.
We can easily presume that these artists visiting Canada receive sponsorship
from their government.
It seems a pretty good trade from this end - pity it's going to be a little
harder from now on to return this compliment to other countries.
Or at least, it's a pity we can't count on even this symbolic monetary
gesture from our federal government to see that such exchanges continue.
The decision is misguided. Take a close look at who gets the money, by all
means, and while you're at it, leave the task in the hands of people who are
familiar with art.

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