I have been pursuing the story of the Literary Press Group getting its funding yanked by the Department of Canadian Heritage. In concert with that department’s decision to restore funding to the Summerworks theatre festival in Toronto, having pulled it last year, the matter raises questions about its management under Minister James Moore. Not that I’m not delighted to see Summerworks get its funding back, but how Canadian Heritage expects arts groups to function in a financially sane manner in this sort of erratic funding environment is beyond me.
The Department, via its “Media Relations Adviser” Geneviève Myre, has already “declined” by e-mail my request for an interview. But then Ms. Myre went on to address my first set of questions, with some boilerplate (“The Department receives numerous requests for funding under various programs. These applications are assessed in accordance with each program’s guidelines and objectives,” etc., etc.), and so I followed up with others. See below. I’ll let you know what, if anything, they have to say.
– Who (or which persons) made the decision regarding the Literary Press Group funding?
– What was the reason for the decision “not to support its application”?
– Who (or which persons) made the decision regarding the Summerworks funding?
– Why was it restored?
– Was the Minister, James Moore, involved in these decisions?
– Does the Minister review funding decisions before they are finalized?
– Are any other MPs involved in the decision process?
– Why is the process not at arm’s length, as Canada Council decisions are?
– The decision to remove the LPG’s funding, after many years, two months into its current fiscal year, and without any warning to the organization, would seem to introduce chaos to its business operation. Similarly, removing Summerworks’ funding in 2011 and restoring it in 2012 would seem to do the same. How is this consistent with the Department of Canadian Heritage’s (presumed) interest in seeing these organizations run in a sound financial fashion?