Or so one might glean from this terribly tasteful item posted on the Conservative website.
Oddly enough, Michael Ignatieff’s argument is not without merit. Or at least advocates. Indeed, there is an argument to be made (one that, admittedly, surprised me when I first heard it) that Bob Rae is something of a legend in Canadian hip-hop.There existed for awhile in Toronto a program called Fresh Arts—part of a larger initiative by the ill-fated Rae government called Jobs Youth Ontario. Here’s what rapper Kardinal Offishall said of it in an interview with Now’s Tim Perlich some years ago.
“In the aftermath of all the kids rampaging downtown following the Rodney King verdict in 93, the Bob Rae government stepped in with some funding for youth-oriented programs like Fresh Arts. That’s really how Saukrates, Jully Black, Baby Blue Soundcrew and I got our start. It gave us something useful to do.
“We were able to go to radio stations and recording studios and see how engineers and producers worked behind the scenes. Many of us had never been inside a studio before, let alone recorded a song in one. Through that program we also got to promote our own events, from making the flyers to doing radio promotion, everything. I can’t begin to put a dollar value on what I learned.”
Here, too, is a segment the New Music did earlier this year.
When the Rae government fell apart, the program followed suit. Toronto’s recent problems with crime have brought it back up for discussion.
Anyway. If the Harper government’s interested in a larger discussion of modern hip-hop’s relevant merits, urban youth violence and Canada’s oft-unnoticed racial divides, so be it. But one surely hopes they aren’t, in this case, merely mocking black culture for the sake of cheap pandering.