Sunday, May 15, 2011

Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore an effective champion for culture in Conservative government

The shape of Canada’s new Conservative majority government will become clearer this week as Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to announce his next Cabinet. For the cultural sector, the question is obviously whether Minister James Moore will stay in Canadian Heritage or be moved to a more senior portfolio. Recognized as a strong performer in the last Cabinet, there is strong speculation that he will be rewarded with a bigger portfolio, while also becoming BC’s political minister.

That said, it’s not clear who could take on a portfolio as diverse and sensitive as Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. Minister Moore’s bilingual ability, appreciation of both the cultural and economic contribution of the cultural sector and a perspective that looks to embrace the new digital reality uniquely position him to champion the sector.

Clearly, not everyone, or every cultural organization, agrees with Minister Moore or the policy decisions of the federal government he has been part of. Bill C-32 is the obvious case in point.

That said, Minister Moore’s combination of attributes and understanding will be hard to replace if the Prime Minister decides to do so.

There are no doubt others in the Conservative caucus who would be effective advocates for the cultural sector, should Prime Minister Harper move Minister Moore to another portfolio. Whoever is appointed Minister of Canadian Heritage, we hope they bring the enthusiasm and sensitivity displayed by Minister James Moore.