Sunday, August 17, 2008

Funding Cuts

As was easily predicted, as soon as the Harper government saw their poll numbers rise they began pursuing arts funding cuts. If an election were called now they would would stand a stronger chance at a majority, with further cuts inevitable. The brilliant way to facilitate this is to highlight a pending economic downturn and focus on a few projects that are not controversial, but sound as though they might be. Take for example, the Toronto indie rock back at the centre of the story.

They formed in 2004 and in four short years have amassed a pretty impressive bio: they have toured with M.I.A., Wolf Parade, Mouse on Mars, and Cornelius; they are nominated for a Juno and shortlisted for the Polaris prize; and they have played many of the world's leading music festivals including Coachella, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Lollapalooza, and the Glastonbury Festival. Not bad for a band from Toronto. The problem is, they are named Holy Fuck.

Similarly, Bill C-10, which was introduced a few months back, proposes that the Canadian conservative government could retroactively strip tax credits from films deemed "offensive or not in the public interest". The film Young People Fucking was held up as an example of the misuse of our tax dollars. However, only about forty thousand people have seen since it was released several months back (probably a smaller number than those who are currently sitting down to watch The Dark Knight). The film is a romantic comedy with less edge than an HBO sitcom, but its title allows it to appear that the Canadian Government is supporting child pornography.

The recent Globe and Mail poll illustrated above shows that the strategy has worked. As a business paper the Globe may lean to the right politically, but is generally considered the best daily paper for arts coverage. I imagine a poll of Toronto Sun readers would lead to a much more unanimous conclusion.

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