Friday, March 30, 2012

A quick round up of response to yesterday’s federal budget

Response and reaction to yesterday’s federal budget, and its implications for the cultural sector, have combined congratulations, appreciation, relief and regret. This post provides a quick round up.

Not surprisingly, the decision to sustain the investment in the Canada Council for the Arts is welcomed.

The Canada Council for the Arts

Canadian Arts Coalition

Magazines Canada

Fédération culturelle canadienne-française

Museums are pleased as well, particularly around the news that the budget strengthens the Canada Travelling Exhibitions Indemnification Program and maintains funding to national museums.

Canadian Museums Association

On the other hand, there is regret about reductions to agencies like Telefilm and the CBC.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Ottawa's 29 March Budget: What will austerity mean for the cultural sector?

Now that the federal government has announced 29 March as budget day, everyone can look forward to some indication of what austerity is going to mean for the cultural sector (and public services generally). The rampant speculation about the nature and extent of program funding cuts has everyone on edge so the announcement of the government’s decisions will be a relief.

The cultural sector has weathered funding restraint in the past, so no-one is expecting the sky to fall in. All the same, it’s clear that the models of public investment in the arts are likely to change. While the Harper government has expressed support for the funding mechanisms of agencies like the Canada Council for the Arts, there are indications that changes, including reductions, to other programs at the Department of Canadian Heritage, are in the air. There could be revised program criteria and program objectives designed to both tighten the availability of public support and foster more private investment.

There is no doubt that changes such as the ones anticipated hold the potential to strain the cultural sector.

Like everyone, we will be looking forward to Finance Minister James Flaherty budget speech on 29 March so we can move beyond guesswork to begin to fully understand what is in store for arts and culture in Canada, and how the sector will respond.