Monday, September 07, 2009

Silence is the question

My friend, bassist/composer Patrick Reid of Fieldtrip just sent out this disconcerting e-mail. Canada's "Heritage Minister" James Moore is planning on restructuring the Canada Music Fund, a major part of which goes towards financing the Canada Council for the Arts' recording grants. Pat writes in his e-mail:

This is incredibly saddening and disheartening news for the creative arts in Canada and its supporters. The majority of Canada's library of creative music was made possible by this program and the future of its production of new creative music is uncertain at best. Small record labels and non-profits that work relentlessly to distribute our creative outputs will have an incredibly difficult time surviving without it.

This program was the main way that artistically motivated/non-commercial recordings were possible in Canada. Recordings are the only way for musicians to document their work and now this will no longer be supported by the only federal organization that promotes art for art's sake in Canada. This is by far the largest blow to music that has taken place since the Conservative regime started their crusade against Canadian culture. This news went completely under the radar mid-summer and I only began to hear about it asa scary rumor last week.

On the heels of last year's massive arts cuts, and the discussion of the importance of grants for non-classical music, this is a deep and dangerous move. Much of the creative Canadian music scene relies on grants financed by the Canada Music Fund, under the auspices of the Canada Council and FACTOR. To list the amount of great recordings over the past few years that have received such aid would take way too long. I'm not even sure what the next step would be in combatting this (and I've written about my ambivalence over the protests of last year's cuts), but this cannot go through.

Of course, more cuts to arts means that PM Stephen Harper is sending signals to his base, warning of an impending federal election that, once again, no one seems to actually want. Most likely it will result in another Harper minority due to our fragmented and ineptly-helmed left-learning parties.

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