So, having declared that “ordinary working people” don’t care about the arts, Stephen Harper now announces a new tax credit worth $150 million aimed at families who want to enroll their kids in arts programs. But who can those families possibly be, given that the “ordinary” ones are apparently too busy playing parcheezi and watching “90210” to care about all that artsy-fartsy stuff?
And what could possibly be the point? The Conservatives appear to be determined to remove, one-by-one, the pillars supporting professional artists in Canada. They may say that they have increased cultural funding, but much of that additional money has gone to things like the 2010 Olympics and the Quebec City 150th birthday celebration. Once all the special events are over, we are likely to be left with a much reduced cultural landscape. So what is the point in training children as artists if, at the end of the day, they have nothing more to aim for than maybe an appearance at the Kiwanis Music Festival?
That’s a good return on that $150 million? The Conservatives’ cultural policy may be a shambles, but at least it has value as theatre of the absurd.
– Frank Moher