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Publishing at the polls: Arts and culture platforms

Tonight is the first televised leadership debate of the federal election. It’s unlikely arts and culture will be mentioned, so here’s a primer on how all parties (including the Green Party) stand on issues that impact the publishing industry. Here’s a summary of points, taken directly from each platform:

Bloc Québécois

  • Ensure that the federal government increases its support for our culture and contributes to its development

Conservative Party

  • We will provide ongoing support for the Canada Periodical Fund to support the distribution of publications to Canadians, while providing long-term, stable program funding
  • A Stephen Harper-led majority Government will also reintroduce and pass the Copyright Modernization Act, a key pillar in our commitment to make Canada a leader in the global digital economy. This balanced, common-sense legislation recognizes the practical priorities of teachers, students, artists, families, and technology companies, among others, while aligning Canada with international standards. It respects both the rights of creators and the interests of consumers. It will ensure that Canada’s copyright law will be responsive in a fast-changing digital world, while protecting and creating jobs, promoting innovation, and attracting investment to Canada

Green Party

  • Increase funding to all of Canada’s arts and culture organizations including The Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada, orchestras, theatres and publishers. The goal will be to make increases in this sector commensurate with increases in support over the years for other sectors of the economy such as transport, the auto industry, health care, and the oil and gas industry
  • Restore and improve arm’s length principles in the governance of arts and cultural institutions and agencies under the federal jurisdiction.  In keeping with such a position, we believe that the heads of Canada’s cultural organizations such as the CRTC, Canada Council, CBC, and Telefilm Canada should not be appointed by the political party in power but by an arm’s length committee made up of competent people representative of the various diverse stakeholders in Canadian society
  • Increase support for community arts programs and facilities across Canada by establishing stable base-funding at a set percentage of the federal budget
  • Equalize federal funding for Arts and Culture among provinces, territories, and municipalities to make it consistent with the provinces and municipalities that have the highest current standards
  • Provide incentives to all provinces and territories to restore and improve arts and culture components to schools and extra-curricular activities not only in urban but also in rural areas
  • Extend income tax relief and incentives to artists (on the very successful models established by Ireland and the city of Berlin).  Doing so will: encourage artists to settle in Canada and build businesses here; result in other (usually) white collar “clean” industries that follow the arts jobs and dollars; help to provide meaningful jobs to university and college graduates;enrich schools and their offerings thereby attracting immigrants to settle in rural areas; revitalize and discover talent in communities where traditional industries are declining and young people are leaving
  • Follow and implement recommendations of Canadian Conference of the Arts in order to enable artists to access various social programs including Employment Insurance, Worker’s Compensation, and Canada Pension Plan
  • Change the Canada Revenue Act to allow arts and culture workers to benefit from a tax averaging plan that will take into account the fact that lean years often precede and follow the good year when a show is produced, a book is published and a grant or a prize is won
  • Protect Canada’s cultural identity during trade negotiations

Liberal Party

  • The Canada Council for the Arts is a major force in supporting working artists. A Liberal government will significantly increase support for Canadian artists and creators by doubling the annual budget of the Canada Council for the Arts, from $180 million to $360 million over the next four years
  • A Liberal government will also restore the PromArt and Trade Routes cultural promotion programs, increasing their funding to $25 million. These programs play an important role in bringing Canadian culture to the world and increasing our exports. The new annual funding will help to create a domestic tours program as well
  • Digital technology offers many new opportunities, but enjoying content without compensating its creators shouldn’t be among them. At the same time, consumers should have freedom for personal use of digital content they rightfully possess. Liberals have worked to pass effective copyright legislation, including a private copying compensation fund instead of any new tax on consumers

NDP

  • We will promote the production and broadcast of Canadian content on Canadian television and in Canadian theatres, and will strongly support Canada’s performing arts, cultural institutions, and creators
  • We will ensure Canadian TV and telecom networks remain Canadian-owned by maintaining effective regulations on foreign ownership
  • We will increase public funding for the Canada Council and implement tax averaging for artists and cultural workers
  • We will explore the creation of a new international arts touring fund to replace the now-defunct Trade Routes and PromArt programs
  • We will develop a digital online culture service to broaden access to Canadian content
  • We will introduce a bill on copyright reform to ensure that Canada complies with its international treaty obligations, while balancing consumers’ and creators’ rights
  • MJ

    So useful — thank you!

  • Lyn Hancock

    Thanks, just what I wanted. Seems though that the parties with the least chance of winning ie the Green Party has most to offer arts and culture, a predicament.

  • Michael Elcock

    The spelling of the Conservative’s ‘Copyright Modernization Act’ alone should tell us to be wary of it. In Canada, modernisation is spelled with an ‘s’, not with a ‘zee’ (or even a ‘zed’). But whatever it’s called, in it’s guise as Bill C-32 this Act most decidedly did NOT “respect . . . the rights of creators.” On the contrary it set out to licence the theft of creators’ works.

  • Barry

    Actually, Michael, if you check the Oxford Canadian Dictionary (which I have in front of me), you’ll see that in Canadian spelling, “modernization” is spelled with a z. “Modernisation” is the British spelling. Gage Canadian should say the same thing, unless they have a recent edition that shows a change, though that would be curious, since historically Gage has leaned towards US spellings.

    While Canadian and British spelling have much in common, they also have points of difference, one of them being ize/ise endings.

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