Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Art and Budget

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Art and Budget

Several commentators (strangely enough, mostly artists and writers) noted that Flaherty's recent Canadian Federal budget contained nary a word about art.
This is somewhat intriguing, given that the Tory brain trust took two prorogued months off to come up with, like, a really state-of-the-art budget.
True, golf-playing guys who think a Lincoln is an economy car generally don't ascribe much value to artistic endeavours. This despite a number of well-documented studies like the Conference Board of Canada's 2008 inquiry into the economic value of cultural production:
“The Cultural Advantage: What do Canadian Creators and the Arts and Cultural Industries contribute to Canada?

* $46 billion to the economy
* 3.8 % of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
* Represents a 48.4% increase since 1996
* Written media alone contributed $14 billion
* Broadcasting contributed $7 billion
* Film contributed $4 billion
* Between 1996 and 2003, cultural employment growth (2.37%) outpaced overall employment (2.19%)
* By 2003, total number of workers across Canada was 615,900”
Confronted by this, Prime Minister Harper responded with a perceptive question. "What are art and culture anyway?" After attempts to make analogies to Olympic curling, Alberta oil production, and hunting moose with bazookas, it was obvious that the PM didn't get it.
Good news, however. Harper has promised to convene a Royal Commission to try to find out what art is, chaired by Fred Fink, a disgraced former Reform MP and current senator who lost his role as Minister of Minor Initiatives when his long-standing liaison with a sheep named Rocky Rose was made public.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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John Oughton

John Oughton is the author of several books, including Time Slip: New and Selected Poems, published by Guernica Editions.

Go to John Oughton’s Author Page