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Sunday, September 07, 2008


(Americans, y'all probably want to tune the rest of this post right out.)

Steven Harper has called a new election. Current polls put the Conservatives within spitting distance of a majority.

If you've been following cultural politics the past few months, you know that the Conservatives have been doing their level best to kill off government support for the arts. Cuts in the CFC's funding. Cuts in producer support for marketing. The attempt to kill the CTF. The attempt to allow the Ministry of Heritage to cut a film's funding after it's been made.

It is pretty clear that the Conservatives fundamentally do not want to support the Canadian cultural sector. I don't imagine they feel the same way about the Canadian beef, timber, hydroelectricity, oil or auto sectors; for some reason we don't count as a business that employs people, even though we're a business that employs people.

If you want Canada to continue supporting its own culture on screen, then you should immediately send a big fat check to the party that you think will do the best job of defending that support. You should also volunteer at phone banks. And explain to your right-wing friends why they should care if Canadian culture disappears off screens, out of bookstores, out of your iPod and your radio dial.

Seriously. IF YOU DON'T GET OUT THERE FOR THE NEXT FIVE WEEKS AND DO SOMETHING, YOU FORFEIT YOUR RIGHT TO COMPLAIN. Next year, when they cut the CTF envelopes; when they abolish the requirement that CTV air a certain number of hours of Canadian drama; when they close the CBC; when they abolish the CRTC, I will ask you what you did during the election. If your answer is "I voted," then I will tell you to quit whining. You'll be getting the government you deserve.

I should also point that if you get your ass out there and help win the election for the opposition -- you know, the guys who believe in funding culture -- then you will make friends in government. That might come in handy next year when Maureen Parker has to go up to Ottawa to explain why producers shouldn't be allowed to get Cancon money for scripts written by unemployed American sitcom writers.

IF YOU ARE NOT PART OF THE SOLUTION, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.

Montrealers: I will be organizing a fundraiser in the next few weeks. Save your pennies.

Torontonians, Vancouverites, Haligonians, etc: organize your own fundraiser. I'll post anything helpful.

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4 Comments:

Funny that you should be getting all riled up. I've always been political, and informed, but in this election, I'm going to do everything I can to keep the current administration from running the next parliament.

I've been burning the midnight oil, and I should have Project ABC up and running in a few days at anythingbutconservative.com .

My primary focus is the environment, but as a writer, I care passionately about the gutting of arts funding, too, so I hope to have something on that.

Good luck!

By Blogger SmartlikeStreetcar, at 8:18 PM  

Fucking conservatives. They're the same the world over.

By Blogger Kevin Lehane, at 8:20 PM  

I'll be voting. No worries there.

By Blogger Dwight Williams, at 6:53 PM  

When you set up your fundraiser, Alex, count me in. In fact if I thought that I could find extra time in the midst of my MA studies, script writing and TAing, I'd help you organize the fundraiser.

By Blogger Rich Baldwin, at 8:00 PM  

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