The Department of Culture


Formed just before the election was called, The Department of Culture is a group of “artists, arts professionals and cultural workers concerned about ensuring the social and cultural health and prosperity of our nation in the face of a Federal Government that is aggressively undermining the values that define Canada.” Naomi Klein was a keynote speaker at their town hall meeting earlier in the month.

Attendees included author Russell Smith.


Toronto NDP MP Olivia Chow was there handing out literature.


NDP MP Peggy Nash also showed.


As did Ontario NDP MPP Peter Tabuns.


Collecting the cash for the big fight.

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The Department of Culture

  1. Is this an NDP group or was it just a combined event with the NDP? I was under the impression they were ABC, not NDP.

  2. Doesn’t matter. Mizz Klein is soooo fine.

  3. Hey Catherine I caught this group on CBC radio on saturday morning I think. But they were back tracking on aiming their protest at any particular party and wanted to return to just promoting themselves and not being partisan.

  4. Hi All,

    I am the Central Coordinator for the Toronto Department of Culture. I just want to make it quite clear that we are not associated with any political party. We are however, united in our antipathy to a Harper Government. Call it ABC if you like.

    Wayne accuses us of “backtracking”, which I find amusing as this has been a key part of our mandate since our inception only three weeks ago. As far as what we are promoting, that would be a Canada free from the clutches of a mean spirted, far-right wing government. Anyways, stay tuned, we all found Ms Klein’s speech inspiring and there is much in the works.


  5. Hello Michael : I was just giving my interpretation of how you sounded on the radio as then it was all we are not partisan let’s work together and sing Kumbaya sort of interview there did not seem to be much mention of evil, mean spirtited, greedy, clutchy conservatives like myself – but now it is indeed ABC why didn’t you emphasize this on the radio?

  6. Hi Wayne,

    Briefly, because I am very busy organizing the majority of Canadians that find Stephen Harper frightening and out of step with their hopes and values:

    That was my illustrious colleague Gregory Elgstrand you heard on CBC. He was invited to speak about culture and the relationship it has with Canadian society, which he did with great alacrity and persuasiveness.

    To clarify for the peanut gallery though:

    Canada, We’re Better Off With Heartburn

  7. Gregory Elgstrand, a visual arts curator and member of the group Department of Culture, a Toronto-based organization formed to fight arts cuts, says arguments about culture’s contribution to GDP are too abstract.

    Artists have only six weeks to get out into ridings and demand electoral candidates make promises about the arts, he said.

    “It’s absolutely critical we get into that process and that artists use the skills and the experiences and the creative faculties that they have to engage with people in their communities and that’s one of things we want to set up,” he said.

    He lays the blame squarely at Harper’s door.

    “It’s really laid out a kind of ideology of the Conservative government toward a government of no government,” he said.

    The whole article is here:

  8. Well good luck with that, Michael. There are a number of only recently turned Conservative ridings outside the Toronto area, including Burlington/Hamilton/Ancaster, where there should be interested artists and others.

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