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Another bloody waste of tax dollars


 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ec7Kbm4wymI

Glenn Gould in the Soviet Union, 1957. Courtesy of External Affairs Minister Lester Pearson. Communist.


 
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Another bloody waste of tax dollars

  1. Paul,

    Your strategy worked. I can’t stop thinking of Russia/Georgia.

    (Sorry to go off topic, but…)

    Speaking of Harper…

    I wonder if the Conservatives are regretting their position on Kosovo.

  2. Is it Lester Pearson or Glenn Gould who was the communist? Or both?

    Sorry. I just noticed the battery in my sarcasm detector was dead.

  3. I believe everyone but Dean Del Mestro is a communist, Sisyphus.

  4. You’re making progress, Butterfly.

  5. I am baffled (sarcasm battery also gone) – this is very interesting and amusing. Has it anything to do with anything? I was not paying taxes in 1957 so am not too fussed if tax dollars supported this, but I cannot see any value it brought anyone but Gould and his audiences.

  6. The Canada of today is looking more backward than that of 1957 … hell it’s looking more backward than the USSR of 1957. I’m not chuckling anymore, I think it is the dawn of dark age for Canada. I hear scarsely any outrage over the conduct of the sad little Harper Government, the people of the country are happy to descend into ignorance and irrelevance. Poor teeny tiny Tim Horton’s of a nation … with license to idle in the drive through.

  7. What precisely did anyone in Canada get out of Gould’s trip? I love his music but see no earthly reason why our government should subsidize sending him to the Soviet Union. Or is there some subtler message here?

  8. Aside from a number of denials from recipients who say they received the money unknowingly, or were asked to attend an event set up by the government through another department, or never ever applied for any money from these programs, has anyone – a recipient, an artists’ association, an artist, writer – anyone – actually stepped up to the plate in the past four days and defended the merits of the program?

    Bueller… Bueller… Bueller…

  9. So, are we pining here for a return to cold war living where we send cultural ambassadors to build bridges between imperial competitors?

    isn’t the idea of living AFTER the bridges are built more interesting? don’t we one day want a world where artists don’t serve as human embodiments of our cultural ideals sent forth to intimidate and impress our rivals yonder?

  10. I dunno, I’m proud of Canadian culture, and if our artists need some help to show it off internationally, I don’t see a problem with that.

    At least, no more than I see a problem with our government running Export Canada or the BDC to help businesses show of their products internationally.

  11. I have no problems with sending Glenn Gould to Russia in 1957 or the WInnipeg Ballet to whereever, but when I was the cultural attache in Tokyo in 1971 the Canada Council and External Affairs spent $10,000 to pay for an “artist” to come all the way from Canada to drop streamers from an airplane flying over a Japanese garbage dump in the middle of Tokyo Bay (the garbage dump was on Yume-no-shima – the appropriately named “Dream Island”). It was called art. To this day I have no idea whether a single living soul other than the pilot and the artist ever saw the “art”.

  12. “…has anyone – a recipient, an artists’ association, an artist, writer – anyone – actually stepped up to the plate in the past four days and defended the merits of the program?”

    Funny you should ask… the St. John’s Telegram has a column by Dahmnait Doyle that does just that (I’m sure I spelled her name wrong, but regardless…) In it she spells things out. Basically, Canadian artists can usually not afford to tour outside Canada. About the only one who can is Celine Dion. So now, thanks to the CPC, in a few years from now the only thing about Canadian Culture that non-Canada countries will be able to say is that Canadians are all strangely skinny and double beat their breasts while singing the theme to Titanic. Thanks Steve, Canada’s certainly back now!

    But hey. at least those leftist ballet dancers from Winnipeg won’t be spreading that commie message any more!

  13. Alan:

    “What precisely did anyone in Canada get out of Gould’s trip? I love his music but see no earthly reason why our government should subsidize sending him to the Soviet Union. Or is there some subtler message here?”

    For heaven’s sake, it’s the same rationale as advertising peanut butter. You don’t judge the success of a billboard, of a single TV spot, of a whole campaign, by how many more jars of peanut butter you sell. The idea is *brand recognition*, so that foreigners will recognise the label “Canada” and have an unconscious good feeling. This is what advertising does. Other nations do it, so we have to too. We need market share. What are the benefits of market share? Please!

    An on-topic anecdote: several times, when I lived in the States for some 6 years, Americans would learn my nationality and say “Glenn Gould, right?” First of all, it gave me a good feeling, like Canada was a grown-up nation that can produce great pianists (which, believe it or not, really matters in places like Russia and the USA – I know, I know, it sounds crazy: they like art!); second, it meant that Canada means something to these people. Leaders, you know; rich people; cultured people. The kind of people who can decide on pure impulse not to screw us on some trade treaty.

    Philistinism is bad business.

  14. Sorry, I should have added reason #1, which I forgot is not obvious to all: it’s a disgrace before the eyes of GOD HIMSELF that our country should only contribute Celine Dion and not more Glenn Goulds. But of course the Harperite question is: how many battalions (/votes) does God have?

  15. When you see people questioning the “purpose” or “merit” of supporting the nation’s culture you see the problem runs deeper than just the Tories. It’s about celebrating, fostering and expanding the human imagination. If people would rather not … well … fine.

  16. What did we and the Russians get out of Gould’s trip? What did the Americans and the Russians get out of Vladimir Horiwitz’s trip?

  17. so guys, do me a favor – in the name of celebrating human imagination – throw your loose cash in a pot and send it to me. I promise to spend every penny of it on a cultural exchange in the Big Apple.

    I am very talented and it would be a benefit to Canada if I were fostered and celebrated.

  18. That hack Gould hasn’t done anything of note for years! Another coddled artist growing fat off the government teat.

  19. “Courtesy of External Affairs Minister Lester Pearson. Communist.”

    It should read ‘courtesy of the Canadian taxpayer, john and jane doe’. And if that documentary is Canadian, the taxpayer probably paid for that as well. All Pearson did was spend other people’s cash.

    Calling him a communist is a bit harsh but not entirely inaccurate. He did introduce a whole host of social programs, brought in a new national flag with colours the exact same as his party and, worst of all, was responsible for bringing Trudeau into federal politics.

    Jack M – ‘We need market share. What are the benefits of market share? Please!’

    I guess we have read differing histories of the USSR. In the books I have read, I don’t recall there being much trade between Russian and anyone.

    You assume these cultural exchange programs work. You cite other countries doing it, so we should as well. What I would like to know is, except US/UK artists, which foreign artists are well known in Canada? All these countries spending small fortunes on promoting arts but I can’t think of one non-english artist, except for a few gorgeous actresses, that is well known in mainstream Canada.

  20. Ah, what a wonderful message for all those young kids with artistic ability – you don’t play hockey so you don’t count.

    For what it’s worth Mr. Wells and I know Larry King isn’t exactly the greatest interviewer – he is having Michail Gorbechov (sp?) on tonight discussing the Russia/Georgia issue. I only watch King when there is someone interesting on. Too bad it wouldn’t be a better interviewer, but hey, it’s a start.

    I caught a glimpse on a newscast a few weeks ago of a 14 year old girl – jazz singer, and she was a amazing. I only caught a glimpse so I don’t know who she is….isn’t it nice to see that our government gives a damn about talent. If she was on the girls’ hockey team she might count.

  21. Enough of this “Liberal flag” nonsense. Red and white became Canada’s national colours in 1921, when a Conservative PM was in power. Maple leaves were added to the coat of arms at the request of Borden. The initial efforts to create a true national flag began in 1925 when Meighen was PM. Since Canada haters obviously don’t know their country’s history, I should point out that they were both Conservatives. Pearson wanted a flag with blue on it.

    Besides, no one is preventing the Conservatives from also using Canada’s official colours. The American Democrats and Republicans both use the colours found on their country’s flag and the Earth hasn’t stopped turning. Please spare us your pathetic Canada bashing.

  22. Dije….thank you for that….some “hack” eh?

    Boy I wish I had enough talent to be a hack like that.

  23. Sandi,

    I suspect the 14-year-old you saw was Nikki Yanofsky. Look up her version of Airmail Special on Youtube and prepare to be wowed.

    But yeah, if only she’s learned hockey. Then, oh yes THEN, she could have been worth supporting.

  24. Yes seriously… if I had half the talent he had I would consider myself extremely fortunate.

    I have no problem with ‘my tax dollars’ being spent on such arts and culture endeavours.

    People seem to forget it is the Glenn Goulds of the world that make this place a better place to live. Nothing wrong with sharing that with others, even at our expense.

    To bad the Bollywood tour isn’t making closer to where I live.

  25. I think Mr Wells is just stirring the pot by invoking the name of Saint Glenn to his cause.

    In any event, I can’t see that the trip to Russia did anything for Glenn Gould’s career, which was in the very capable hands of an evil media conglomerate at the time. Certainly, his subsequent support from the communists at CBC produced a large amount of work which has largely disappeared without trace.

    As for a national brand awareness, I have never seen any value in the Canadian government promoting such a concept. If you asked half of the overseas users of Blackberry devices where they are made, do you think they know? Do you think they care? Was Nortel recognized as a Canadian company?

    Looking at these trips abroad, they really do look like feel-good tours put on for nebulous benefit and largely being shared around amongst a self-appointed cultural elite.

    Glenn Gould was never in need of any support from any government agency. There is also a special irony in sending one of the great pianists of the 20th century to play in Russia, while another on (Horovitz) was busy escaping from the place.

  26. I doubt I will ever understand why people are so strongly against our government profiling our culture abroad.

    Governments do trade missions, which under the same theory is support companies shouldn’t need and should pay their own way. Should we stop those as well? Of course not.

    Also, communists cannot be elitist by definition. But it is too easy to currupt, same as capitalism.

  27. I was speaking to a friend who mkaes documentaries recently about the program. I’m not a fan of Avi Lewis, but he does a pretty good job of summing up some of the arguments for the programs here: http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/477989

    I think it’s important to note that it’s not just about promoting Canadian arts and culture. There are tangible economic benefits to these programs too. An no, they’re not just about giving money to ‘celebrities’ like Avi Lewis.

  28. This needs repeating:

    In many (most?) foreign countries, people, particularly the political, business, and generally decision making classes, care about art, music and literature. And they keep track of countries by their cultural output.

    In Canada and the States, we’re inside the US/North American celebrity machine, so we don’t operate that way. Other countries, particularly non-Anglophone ones who can’t compete in that celebrity space, value achievement in the spaces in which they can compete.

    These programes build the Canadian brand, which is essential, since our brand in many places, would otherwise consist pretty much exclusively of mountains.

    If we want to attract top international scholars to our universities, this will help. If people trying to make deals abroad want to seem interesting to prospective partners, this will help.

    That recent mini-tour of Japan by Broken Social Scene, The Stars, and another band or two (I don’t have any idea if the tour was government supported, I’m just picking one example I can think of) probably did more to benefit Canadian interests than any “Team Canada” trade mission.

    Maybe this particular program is poorly run, maybe it shouldn’t be an economic priority right now, but any national politician who tells you they don’t know what it’s purpose is, is either lying or unforgivably ignorant of how the world works.

    /rant.

  29. Conservative message: Artists need to man up.

  30. Good one, Greg! (@10:00 am)

  31. Seems like an Olympic Games of Culture being proposed here, where our medal count of international artists burnishes our national brand :-).

    When I travel, which is often, I find no lack of recognition of Canadian culture, but it is nothing (in my estimation anyway) to do with government sponsored events.

    And since Avi Lewis is now working for Al Jazeera, he seems to be gainfully employed in an international organization anyway, and therefore not in desperate need of promotion to get his brand out there.

  32. My secret belief is that there’s no right answer to the question of whether government should send achievers in various fields abroad to increase the country’s visibility, to encourage exchanges, and as a tool of (whisper it!) soft power. People who don’t think it should have very good reasons for thinking so. And I think there’s strategic sense in a conservative government appealing to those people by cancelling such programs. Where there was no bone of contention, there is now, and bones of contention can be handy in defining “our” electorate and “theirs.”

    But not for the first time, I find myself disagreeing very strongly with this government when I wasn’t looking for a disagreement, and sad — that’s all, just sad — at their decision to designate enemies and use polarizing language to defend their choice. Why cancel these programs? Because they only benefit *those people,* after all. I really believe they could even have cancelled these programs without getting my dander up, but I have this thing about enemies lists.

    Point taken. The government wants to polarize? Okay. I’m polarized.

  33. Paul I think polarizing is a good thing. It gets us debating the issues. I look at US debates and they go at it hammer and tongs whereas Canadians have come to believe consensus is the ideal and having different opinions than liberals is somehow un-Canadian.

    I long for the day when Conservatives and Dippers get as much say in what Canadian values are as the Liberals do.

  34. Paul,
    I agree that the tone of this government is petty and vindictive where it does not need to be, but I am with jwl that we need to air out and deal with this sort of thing. There is a whole bunch of small things that the government has got used to doing, that only cost a few million or whatever, that really should be re-examined, and there are a lot of us out here who want these programs to be really justified, instead of defended on the basis of “why not”.

  35. As we continue the polarizing debate, I thought government subsidies for arts were just fine:

    For her part, [Heritage Minister Josee] Verner says this idea that the Conservative government is not a supporter of the arts is not true. “I think frankly it’s a little bit unfair, because we did a lot. When we look at our record, we spend a lot of money in the [Canada Council for the Arts], we spend a lot of money for the festivals. The small festivals in every part of the country are so happy to receive funds … and at the same time, we believe in our major festivals, the ones who make us so proud – for example, Just for Laughs.” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080307.wverner08/BNStory/Entertainment/home?cid=al_gam_mostview

    I long for the day that Minister Verner gets as much say in what Conservative values are as much as… ummm, Minister Verner, I guess.

  36. You think it’s easy to unmake priorities?

  37. Thank you tintin : The Hertiage Minister has the best point there are appropriate venues and controls to manage funds for the arts and Foreign Affairs is NOT one of them the Canada Council is the appropriate for most of what I have seen so far and speaking of which. Many years ago when I was first learning guitar one of my teachers at the time applied for and got a grant to travel around BC and collect as many of the old traditional pub and folk songs and actually put together a concert that boggled the mind and it was very timely because there was a damn and river project going through that basically wiped out huge areas of where a lot of the old timers were and had resources at which of course are now all gone so Daniel Lapp’s collection of old music is very valuable and he and we owe much to – oh yeah! I almost it was a Conservative Gov’t as well!

  38. Avi Lewis the general radical speaks up. I met Mr. Lewis a few years back when I worked for a PR company prometing his film The Take. He is a very kind person and I think he offers some valuable insite to the way the Conservative Government has handled this issue.

  39. We are the most philistine nation in the world.
    In the US, thanks to Reaganomics, there is a huge class of people who spend their own private money on the arts – because they love the arts. They are invisible to the mass media, of course, but they exist and they are extremely influential politically. We have cultured people in Canada too, but our egalitarian university system ensures that the majority of cultured people end up in the middle class; our very wealthy are no less cultured than their American peers, but they are far fewer. So we neither have (has the US has) independent support for the arts nor (as France has) a national culture that insists on national art.

    I guess, fundamentally, it’s owing to the profound ignorance of the world that most Canadians have. “The world needs more Canada”! Give me a break! Thanks to our incredible smugness, the world barely registers our existence. Shouldn’t we be proud!

    As to Mr. Wells’ comment about this being a useful with-me-or-against-me Conservative line, I’m not so sure. Above all it reflects the fact that Harperites are populists, so I’m sure it buys them a few more votes from the banjo brigade; but what about the old wealthy urban Tories, i.e. Rosedale, Westmount, & Rockcliffe? The Conservatives are now officially the Canadian Alliance reborn.

  40. “but what about the old wealthy urban Tories, i.e. Rosedale, Westmount, & Rockcliffe? The Conservatives are now officially the Canadian Alliance reborn.”

    good news for Liberals then. Cut a few million from the budget and Tories permanently fall to the 25% mark in the polls. And all because we pissed off Westmount, Rosedal and Rockcliffe who would rather have their landscapers and plumbers foot artists bills rather than foot them themselves!

  41. 1. How much contribution does the federal government make to the Calgary Stampede?

    2. The federal government has made a $100 million commitment to the construction of the Museum of Human Rightgs, to be constructed in Winnipeg, and a $20 million commitment to its opeation. In return, they get no involvement in the design, construction or operation of the Museum.

    3. How much federal money is going into the Vancouver Olympics?

    Surely the partisan affiliations of the respective beneficiaries of these funds have no bearing on their respective merits. Right? And all of these are worthy recipients, whereas performing artists are not. Yes?

    Just want to make sure I understand things.

  42. Dr. Benway, you hit the nail on the head: this has nothing whatsoever to do with real costs. It’s only about giving the philistines a comfortable reason to express their self-loathing.

  43. I’m not sure what is the point of this post. Is it to say that events like this would never happen without the use of tax dollars?

    Well, I guess nothing ever happened before income texes came along. I better get elected so that I can accomplish something with my life.

    Thanks goodness for the government, without the government there would have been no Glenn Gould. And ya gotta love the way the Canadian government defeated communism using our taxpayer dollars.

  44. Ya got me, sf.

  45. More money for flying bananas! MORE MONEY FOR FLYING BANANAS!

  46. Paul, I did not realize I could be so convincing :-)

    I’m with David, more Flying Bananas and more YPF! And Avi Lewis needs another vacation.

    But I suspect Bryan Adams contributed more to the fall of the Commies than Glenn Gould. Not that I’m a fan of Bryan.

  47. Sigh….. I hate having to explain such simple things to Canadian rednecks, but here goes…

    A nation is judged around the world by its culture. Not so much by its pop culture, which is considered amusing, but by its embrace of the classics, and by its output of new classical compositions and recordings.

    This does not mean that pop culture is of no use – it conveys a sense of how ‘hip’ we are – but it generates entertainment and not necessarily respect.

    The prestige of Canada is carried abroad by the people we send, and it contributes to the way in which we are regarded, whether as a nation of hicks (as some of the comments above reveal) or as a nation of culture.

  48. “In the US, thanks to Reaganomics, there is a huge class of people who spend their own private money on the arts – because they love the arts. They are invisible to the mass media, of course, but they exist and they are extremely influential politically. We have cultured people in Canada too, but our egalitarian university system ensures that the majority of cultured people end up in the middle class; our very wealthy are no less cultured than their American peers, but they are far fewer.”

    Democracy & equality are sooooo evil . . .

    I think a lot of the problem was the delivery of the cuts. I think the message was that some of the recipients of funding didn’t represent the ideals of the Conservative Party. I realize the official statement said “Canadian values” or something like that, but the examples given definitely said “Conservative”.

    Um, wasn’t it Heritage Minister Verneer who told David Cronenberg that he didn’t understand the business of making films when he disagreed with Bill C-10?

  49. I think the problem for me may be summarized as follows (please read with my previous post):

    1) that while being against promoting Canadians abroad, this Government professes to be quite happy to “spend a lot of money” on arts and festivals.

    My reason for having a problem with this:
    a) I thought subsidies for arts were generally bad;
    b) the artists who are then supported directly or indirectly by Government spending “a lot of money” on arts and festivals can include, in fact, foreign artists, as we cut funding that specifically goes to Canadian performers; and
    c) why is the concept of specifically supporting Canadians abroad in and of itself a bad thing?

    (And as an aside – foreign and Canadian comedians who attend “Just for Laughs” can be reliably counted on to represent a set of agreed on Canadian values (aren’t some kind of, um, risqué, at times? – being humour and all…)?)

    Please note: I agree that arts and festivals should be supported and their organizers should be able to invite foreign artists should they choose. It’s just that the Government’s wholehearted spending “of a lot of money” seems to only occur when there’s a better chance of getting votes out of it (I am guessing “radicals”, “left wing” Canadians, and bands using offensive words in their name and those who are supportive of these people are seen by the Government as likely non-supporters of the Conservative Party – may I introduce you to Zoë?).

    I suppose that’s the Canadian value I should have got out of it – spending “a lot of money” is good when it’s good for the Government. I should start an “All Hail Stephen Harper” festival and apply for a grant.

    But even more concerning to me:
    2) the Government called out various private citizens (as opposed to elected representatives) and stated in no uncertain terms that:

    a) they personally or their personal endeavours are to be considered unworthy of support; and
    b) we, as ordinary Canadians, should do our Canadian duty and recognize these individuals and/or their endeavours as unworthy of support (regardless of if we never heard of them before).

    So – when members of an opposition party question a Prime Minister on his activities, that’s defamation. But when the Government of Canada decides to cut programs, cites names of individuals and their activities as being substantively the reason these programs need to be shut down, and then applies helpful adjectives and characterizations so we can play along at home – that’s not defamation or attacking reputations. By golly, that’s sound prudent governance.

    Point taken. All Hail Stephen Harper!

  50. We need to promote our artists abroad and brand Canada providing they don’t don’t use obsence word to promote their art.

    Years ago when I went to Nassville to pitch songs, the first ting they asked me was, do you have another Snow Bird?

  51. Sorry for the rant.

  52. Rants are good, Tintin, as long as they’re not directed at other readers, as yours wasn’t.

  53. Canada’s back! Now, take my wife … please!

  54. … uh, that was a reference to Tintin’s mention of the Just for Laughs Festival,

    Something about if you have to explain it or something like that …

  55. Tintin:

    “cites names of individuals and their activities as being substantively the reason these programs need to be shut down”

    I don’t see how that is defamation. It is not defamation to say that you do not approve of the funding of particular activities, regardless of whether there are names involved. What other possible reason could there be, other than, “the government does not wish to fund the activities of XXX and YYY” (insert flying bananas, Avi Lewis, or any group of Liberals hoping to fund their next garden party in Paris with taxes). It would only be defamation if the named individuals did not in fact receive government subsidies to do the named activities (ie it must be an intentional lie).

    Not to mention it’s so convenient to ignore the fact that the subsidies, when introduced, were a vote-buying exercise by the liberals.

    DGudmundson “I hate having to explain such simple things to Canadian rednecks”:

    That’s a great way to start explaining to me that you will be taking my money to fund your artsy garden party in Paris. Sure, go ahead, it must be good for me if you say so.

    And people wonder why there are separatists in Alberta. By the way, I am not from Alberta, nor from anywhere in the west, but I guess I must be a redneck anyway if I oppose these programs (cough cough waste of money cough cough).

    Shenping:

    How is it “equality” for taxpayer money to fund Avi Lewis’ vacation? I suppose I might be pleased if my vacations abroad were defined as a cultural export and funded by your taxes. But I would never call it equality.

    I don’t see how they can be defined as democracy either. Democracy occurs when the winner of the last election determines government policy and the spending of tax dollars, and not the party that had their way for the previous 10 years despite winning less than a majority of the votes.

    It would seem to me that all Canadians, not just those with good connection to arts groups, and not just those with friends in high places, and not just those famous Canadian journalists and writers and painters, have equal entitlement to tax dollars.

    When the government spends money on a road, or a museum, or an art gallery, at least there is some semblance of equal access to these things for all Canadians.

    But almost none of this funding is an equal access enterprise. It’s either vacations for CBC employees, exhibitions and presentations for foreigners by famous Canadians, bananas in the sky in Texas, or movies like YPF that would disgust the sensibilities of the majority of Canadians.

    From the Globe and Mail today: “Several more organizations, including Opera.ca, the Writers’ Union of Canada, Magnetic North Theatre Festival and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, also pelted the government with scorn.”

    For every vote they lost, they gained ten from the vast majority of ordinary people who don’t go to the opera or the theatre (not that I have anything against the opera or theatre, I’ve seen a few operas and theatre shows myself).

  56. “For every vote they lost, they gained ten from the vast majority of ordinary people who don’t go to the opera or the theatre (not that I have anything against the opera or theatre, I’ve seen a few operas and theatre shows myself).”

    The problem with your math is everyone knows how arts and culture are revered in Quebec. This is the province that Harper is counting on to increase his seat count, yes?

  57. sf: I think Tintin’s point stands. The debate should not be about Holy Fuck, Avi Lewis, or any other recipient of that funding. After all, it was the government that ultimately approved the funding. To make examples out of these people for something the government did is wrong.

    If we want to have an honest debate about the merits and objectives of these arts programs (or lack thereof) then let’s do that. But to focus on two or three recipients out of hundreds is to not see the forest for the trees.

  58. JR: Sure, point taken. But I think it is difficult to cite the merits of something without citing any examples, because ultimately almost all of these junkets are different. In almost all cases, it’s somebody with connections calling up a friend in Ottawa and saying “We need money for X, can you send some of that loose money in my direction?” I could call the same number and they’d have a laugh at my expense because I’m not a cultural elitist. So without naming names, or specific items, there’s not much to say.

    boudica: true, Harper is targeting Quebec, but I think the point still stands, most Quebecers do not go to Les Miserables, there are far more Quebecers that go to the UFC, nascar/stock/F1 racing and junior hockey. Most Quebecers, and most voters in Quebec, would not have the slightest idea who is Glenn Gould, Avi Lewis, or Gwynn Dyer.

    Additonally, the National Post pointed out the obvious, that overall cultural spending has jumped 20%, notwithstanding these cuts, outstripping the growth of overall program spending.

    So what has really happened is that the opposition and the special interest groups have harped on these cuts to junkets and freebies for elitists in order to paint the conservatives as unfriendly to culture. The media have hopped on the bandwagon without the slightest bit of objectivity (except the National Post) because that’s what the media does, the media is overwhelmingly liberal and unquestionably biased against the conservatives (to be fair I think that Paul Wells and Macleans is an exception, one reason I frequent these pages).

    The truth is the opposite to the media’s slant, and the growth in spending for culture is probably tied in some ways to Harper’s attempts to woo Quebec.

    These junket programs were used by special interest groups and nothing more.

  59. Yeah! Damn them special interest groups like the Department of Foreign Affairs that sent Glenn Gould. Damn them for wanting to promote Canada…

    ..oh wait, that’s kinda their job.

  60. not anymore

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