Thursday, June 24, 2004

SAA Bulletin

June 24, 2004

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Two weeks ago, Saskatchewan Arts Alliance emailed a questionnaire to the Saskatchewan federal election candidates asking about their position on the arts and culture sector, and how they plan to support it if elected. Of the 58 candidates contacted, only 3 responded to the questionnaire – a shamefully low response rate considering the significant and indispensable contribution our sector makes to Canada.

Arts and cultural activities are at the heart of our communities contributing substantially to our well-being. And the impact of our sector is real. In 2001/02, an economic impact of $26 billion was generated and 740,000 jobs were created with a $6.8 billion investment by all levels of government in the sector including libraries, heritage resources, arts education, literary arts, performing arts, visual arts and crafts, film and video, broadcasting, sound recording, multiculturalism. (Source: Canada Council)

The cultural sector has about 516,000 workers and comprises 3.1% of the total labour force in Canada. One in every 32 people in Canada has a cultural occupation. (Source: Cultural Human Resources Council, Canada’s Cultural Sector Labour Force, July 2004)

Canadian consumers spent $21.3 billion on cultural goods and services in 2001, over three times higher than government spending on culture in Canada. (Source: Hill Strategies Research, Consumer Spending on Culture in Canada, 2003)

The answers of those candidates who did respond are reprinted below. Information on federal party platforms regarding the arts and culture sector can be found on the Canadian Conference of the Arts website: www.ccarts.ca/eng/01_new_e.htm .

CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE

  1. Do you support federal investment in the arts and culture sector in Canada?

    Allyce Herle (Liberal, Regina--Qu'Appelle: I think the government should take an active role in supporting cultural activities as well as the arts.

    Jeff Potts (NDP Cypress Hills—Grasslands): Yes.

  2. If elected, would you vote to increase funding to the sector, to provide stable-adequate, multi-year funding?

    Allyce Herle (Liberal, Regina--Qu’Appelle): Stable-adequate and multi year funding is important and should be ranked within the budgets priorities. Also I believe that Western organizations such as yourself need to be given a greater voice on the National funding boards so that available funds are equitably distributed through the country.

    Jeff Potts (NDP Cypress Hills—Grasslands): Yes.

  3. Would you provide access by the self-employed to social benefits programs, including Employment Insurance, and to the important training and professional development programs only accessible currently through Employment Insurance?

    Allyce Herle (Liberal, Regina--Qu’Appelle): Absolutely. This is an issue which I feel strongly about. It is also an issue that I see as increasingly affecting women because women are forming a larger percentage of self employed / small business owners.

    Jeff Potts (NDP Cypress Hills—Grasslands): Yes.

  4. Would you support an income tax exemption on artistic and copyright income for artists and creators, similar to that which already exists in Quebec and in other countries (such as Ireland)?

    Allyce Herle (Liberal, Regina--Qu’Appelle): I am not familiar with that issue but I would appreciate input or information from your organization.

    Jeff Potts (NDP Cypress Hills—Grasslands): Yes.

  5. Do you support a system of income back averaging on a 5 year basis, to address the unique needs of the growing numbers of self-employed individuals in Canada, both within the cultural sector and in other sectors of the economy?

    Allyce Herle (Liberal, Regina--Qu’Appelle): This may be one of a number of issues that affect self employed persons. It is important that we review both the support programs and the tax policies to ensure that they do not penalize and in fact support self employed persons.

    Jeff Potts (NDP Cypress Hills—Grasslands): Yes - Farmers and some industries have this now.

  6. What is your position on Canadians’ right to free expression? Would you resist legislation that would potentially criminalize certain creative works of the imagination?

    Allyce Herle (Liberal, Regina--Qu’Appelle): I believe Canadians have right to freedom of expression. However, I believe that laws supporting freedom of expression have to be balanced with the prevention of exploitation or victimization.

    Jeff Potts (NDP Cypress Hills—Grasslands): Exceptions: porn, hate, discrimination, etc.

  7. How would your government support UNESCO’s work in articulating a legally binding international agreement to support cultural diversity? What concrete steps would you take in the interim to ensure that Canada’s cultural sovereignty is not traded away prior to the ratification of an international instrument on cultural diversity?

    Allyce Herle (Liberal, Regina--Qu’Appelle): I do not know the specifics of UNESCO's proposal. But I feel strongly about Canada's cultural sovereignty.

    Jeff Potts (NDP Cypress Hills—Grasslands): Remove from any "free trade" agreements.

  8. Do you believe that Canadian content and ownership should be protected in our broadcasting industry? Do you extend this view more broadly to include (but be not limited to) regulation of other cultural industries, such as: book and magazine publishing; film production and exhibition; and sound recording?

    Allyce Herle (Liberal, Regina--Qu’Appelle): Generally I am in favour of Canadian content rules. Once again I am not fully aware of the specifics.

    Jeff Potts (NDP Cypress Hills—Grasslands): Yes.


Other Responses:

Mary Sylvia Nelson (Christian Heritage Party, Regina--Qu'Appelle): I, too, believe that arts and culture makes a contribution to our province and our nation! Rather than giving you blanket yes/no responses, I would prefer to sit down with you and others concerned to discuss what is art and culture; and proceed from there. With freedom goes responsibility.