Thursday, January 12, 2006

SAA Bulletin - Federal Election Questionnaire

January 2006 - Updated Jan. 16

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Saskatchewan Arts Alliance sent all Saskatchewan federal election candidates a questionnaire inviting them to articulate their position on the arts and culture sector, and how they plan to support it if elected. Candidates were asked to respond by the deadline of Jan. 6th, which was then extended to Jan. 12th. Candidates' responses to the questionnaire follow. New responses will be posted on the website as they come in.

Candidates from the Conservative, Green, Liberal, and New Democratic parties responded. The NDP provided a response on behalf of all New Democratic candidates, although some NDP candidates also provided personal responses. Some candidates chose to write a statement rather than answer the questionnaire.

Election platforms can be found at:

CCA is monitoring all political parties’ platforms pertaining to arts and culture issues as the platforms are unveiled. Visit their website http://www.ccarts.ca/en/2005ElectionNews1.htm for ongoing election updates.

If you would like to contact your candidates directly, the Canadian Arts Coalition's website www.votearts2006.ca has a feature for finding contact information of candidates in your riding. The Coalition continues its campaign to ensure that that increased Canada Council funding, now committed on paper, becomes a reality once a new government is elected


FEDERAL ELECTION CANDIDATES RESPONSES TO SAA QUESTIONNAIRE



1. Investment
Canada's most importance source of policy development and investment in the sector is through the Department of Canadian Heritage and its portfolio of agencies and institutions such as the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada, National Film Board, and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, to list a few.

Recently, the Government committed to increase its investment in the arts by $342 million over the next three years to the Canada Council for the Arts, Foreign Affairs – International Touring, National Arts Centre, National Arts Training Contribution Program, and Confederation Centre of the Arts. This investment is desperately needed and will have a significant impact on sector development.

QUESTION: Do you support federal funding for the arts sector in Canada?

Brett Dolter (Green Party): "Here are some things the Green Party will do to fund and support the arts sector:
  • Increase support for community arts programs and facilities across Canada by establishing stable base-funding at a set percentage of the federal budget.
  • Establish stable base-funding for young artists.
  • Expand support for regional arts festivals that bring new Canadian art to a wider audience.
  • Share Canadian history by supporting more educational programming.
  • Provide stable base-funding for the CBC to provide quality television and radio programming in both official languages.
  • Direct the CRTC to reserve more bandwidth for independent and non-profit stations."


Mike Fornssler (Green Party): "Yes. I think of myself as an artist (being a writer/videographer and all). I also realize how much the arts can improve other industries ie. tourism."

Norbert Kratchmer (Green Party): "Yes. (Please see page 20 of 2006 election platform at www.greenparty.ca)."

Nigel Taylor (Green Party): "The short answer to this question is yes. As a performing artist with both the Regina Symphony Orchestra and many other projects around Saskatchewan, I understand the key role government funding plays in sustaining and expanding the arts. There is no question that I personally, and the Green Party as a whole, support meeting or even surpassing the Liberal government’s targets for funding in the arts. Furthermore, the Green Party of Canada would create stability in funding, establishing base-funding at a set percentage of the federal budget."

Larry Zepp (Green Party): "Yes"

Herta Barron & Peter Stroh (Liberal Party): "The Liberal Government is committed to supporting and promoting Canada’s artists and creators on the domestic and international stage. Support for Canada’s major arts institutions is a long-term objective of the Liberal government and is typified by our commitments to the Tomorrow Starts Today Initiative, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions."

New Democratic Party on behalf of all NDP candidates: "Yes. We’ll provide increased funding for the Canada Council for the support of artists."

Anita Jackson (NDP): "Yes"

Andrew Mason (NDP): "Yes"


QUESTION: If elected, will you uphold Government's commitment to increase investment in the arts sector to $342 million?


Brett Dolter (Green Party): "I would like to be able to do a whole review of the state of the government’s finances before agreeing to that exact number, but I would like to see increased investment in the arts."

Mike Fornssler (Green Party): "Yes. I will make it more money than just 342 million."

Norbert Kratchmer (Green Party): "Yes"

Nigel Taylor (Green Party): Answer included in response to previous question - SAA

Larry Zepp (Green Party): "Yes"

Herta Barron & Peter Stroh (Liberal Party): "In 2001, the Liberal Government announced the Tomorrow Starts Today initiative, which provides major support for Canadian arts and culture. Since its introduction, the initiative has provided almost $740 million to all aspects of the creative process.

On December 15, 2004, the Liberal Government announced that this initiative would be extended for another year with a budget of up to $192 million. Budget 2005 further extended $172 million of new funding per year for another four years, for a total of $688 million. This brings total new funding for Tomorrow Starts Today to $860 million over five years. This multi-year investment will help create stability within the arts and culture community by providing predictable levels of funding.

On November 23rd, 2005, the Liberal Government committed $342 million over the next three years to increase funding for arts organizations throughout Canada. This type of investment helps build vibrant communities that contribute to the social and economic development of every part of Canada. The new funding will allow arts organizations in all regions of Canada to attain new standards of creative excellence and innovation and provide for artists' tours and shows."

New Democratic Party on behalf of all NDP candidates: "Yes. The NDP will ensure that the government follows through on November’s Canada Council funding announcement. We need to make certain that the Council’s funding for art and artists remains stable and accessible."

Anita Jackson (NDP): "Yes"

Andrew Mason (NDP): "Yes"

2. Cultural Sovereignty
Recently, Canada ratified the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. This agreement acknowledges the value of cultural diversity to national and global well-being. The agreement is only one step to achieving cultural diversity and preventing trade and investment agreements from eroding Canada's right to support its artists and cultural producers.

QUESTION: What will you do to ensure a strong cultural presence for Canadians, both domestically and internationally?

Brett Dolter (Green Party): "Here are some Green Party policies on that:
111. Protect Canada's cultural identity during trade negotiations.
116. Introduce a law mandating cinemas and video chains to have 20 per cent Canadian content. this should increase the viability of Canadian film and allow more productions to reach the international market"

Mike Fornssler (Green Party): "First of all domestically I would eliminate the loop hole that allows TV networks to play a 30 second commercial for a canadian TV show and have that go towards canadian content requirements. (if you play enough it counts as another canadian made TV show). Secondly increase the number of tax credits for canadian made production... I'm glad that NFB and other such agencies have realized you don't have to make a movie about hockey or how cold it is in the winter in order to get canadians to watch it. finally I would try to get our arts funding out of Quebec and given to the rest of canada. about 50% of Quebecers (or Quebecious) will vote for being "culturally distinct" from canadians so we as canadians shouldn't put money into promoting a culture that isn't ours... I will take some of the unfair funding that goes to Quebec and give it to provinces like ours."

Norbert Kratchmer (Green Party): "Yes"

Nigel Taylor (Green Party): "Firstly, the Green Party of Canada is committed to protecting Canada’s culture during all trade negotiations. As part of a larger program of democratization in trade, the Green Party proposes to bring the IMF, WTO, and other trade bodies under the authority of the United Nations’ General Assembly, thus guaranteeing that the cultural protections that are part of the U.N. charter will extend to international trade agreements. We will also re-negotiate NAFTA to include protections for the cultural sectors of our economy.

Secondly, the Green Party will increase the amount of Canadian culture available to Canadian citizens. We support stable funding for the CBC, a 20% Canadian content quota for all cinemas and video rental stores, and more funding for regional arts festivals. We would also mandate the CRTC to set aside more bandwidth for Canadian independent and non-profit stations."

Larry Zepp (Green Party): "I will help the anti-war movement to see that George Bush goes to the world court in The Hague, Netherlands as a war criminal."

Herta Barron & Peter Stroh (Liberal Party): "The Liberal Government is committed to supporting Canada’s vibrant communications industry, and ensuring that the integrity and sovereignty of Canada’s culture is protected. The Liberal government places a heavy emphasis on Canadian content. Culturally, Canadian programs and music give voice to Canadians, to their talent and their shared experiences. Economically, it means jobs for thousands of Canadians – from creation to production and distribution on the airwaves. In light of conflicting reports from two House of Commons committees on the issue of foreign ownership, the Liberal Government firmly reiterated that it has no intention to modify foreign limits on broadcasting or general content.

On the global stage, the Liberal Government was able to assume a leadership position and gather support for its position on the UNESCO convention for cultural diversity. Under the terms of the convention, cultural products will not be subordinated to commercial agreements such as those of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This means that the international community recognizes that cultural products are not strictly commercial goods, but also have an important social role to play in society. Thus, governments will be able to continue to support the cultural and artistic communities without fear of commercial reprisals. Canada was the first country to ratify the convention domestically, thus reaffirming the Liberal Government’s commitment to supporting and promoting Canada’s vibrant arts community."

New Democratic Party on behalf of all NDP candidates: "The NDP believes that our arts, culture and media are vital to preserving our cultural sovereignty and independence as a nation. We will continue to fight for the development of arts and culture policies that nurture this sector as a vital economic engine for Canada, our cities and communities.

The NDP is also committed to increasing and stabilizing federal funding for the things like the Canadian Television Fund, Telefilm and the CBC. We recognize that these institutions play a critical role in the development and promotion of quality Canadian programming and feature films. The NDP is committed to ensuring that both receive the stable, long-term funding they need to maintain and strengthen a vibrant Canadian film and television production sector.

The NDP is committed to increasing and stabilizing funding for the CBC and Radio-Canada, recognizing the importance of public broadcasting in a large country in a larger world. The NDP recognizes and supports the CBC’s capacity to connect Canadians to each other through news, regional programming, drama and comedy. We believe that the CBC plays a crucial role to building our identity as a nation, and that a strong public broadcaster is essential in connecting a large and diverse country, and maintaining our distinct identity.

The NDP has fought hard for increased and stabilized funding for the arts and cultural institutions like the CBC to off-set the years of Liberal cuts and lack of commitment from Paul Martin’s government to protect and promote arts, culture and public broadcasting."

Anita Jackson (NDP): "Actively advocate in a supportive proactive way by promoting UNESCO."

Andrew Mason (NDP): "I think it is very important for the federal government to help define and to promote a strong Canadian cultural presence within Canada and internationally. I will listen to members of the arts communities and to our arts and culture industries when considering steps that Canada should take in this area. But here are a few comments I would make:

I would like to see the Government of Canada encourage and work towards developing more private support for the arts and culture in Canada. A significant part of Canada's arts and culture is community based. I would like to see, for example, Canada Council support for arts organizations tied to the amount raised locally so that the Canada Council support increases with increased community support.

I would like to see Canada Council support extend to individuals and organizations based on a high level of performance and need, whether professional or amateur. The Saskatoon Children's Choir, for example, should be eligible to be considered for regular Canada Council support.

The CBC plays a very important part in promoting Canada's arts and culture within Canada and around the world. I would like to see the CBC do more to promote Canada's culture abroad - the way that the BBC does for Britain and Radio France does for France, for example.

The impression I have, and I caution that I may not have an accurate or fair picture, is that the Canadian television and Canadian film productions (outside of Quebec) are tending less and less to portray our country and our distinct culture(s). This makes it more difficult for us to see ourselves as a distinct country and for others to distinguish Canada from the U.S., for example. If government funding is to be used, I would like to see more funding directed toward developing distinctly Canadian productions."

3. Artists' Work
Canada's artists are world-class, captivating audiences abroad and at home. For example, over 13 million Canadians attend performances in dance, theatre, opera and music (Government of Canada). However, their economic circumstances are well below that of other workers.

Artists work conditions are unique, often self-employed, engaged in part-time or seasonal work, and with incomes that can fluctuate enormously from year to year. Yet, Canada's taxation and social policies do not reflect the economic realities of artists' work.

QUESTION: If elected, would you support the arts sector call for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to adopt a fair tax treatment policy for artists?

Brett Dolter (Green Party): "Yes, I have tried my hand at being an independent artist and it is hard as hell! Living in substandard conditions, eating porridge all the time. I think we need to ensure we don’t unfairly tax artists who are able to climb out of starving artist conditions and make an income."

Mike Fornssler (Green Party): "By all means I'm for fair taxes and I am a "starving artist". But the gross potential for abuse of such a system makes me wary of this... I like Ireland's tax policy when it comes to artists like myself... no taxes. With a writer like myself I specialize in screen plays... it take about two years to go from outline to finished draft of a script after which if you get the standard price in canada you get about 125000. after agents, paper, printer supplies, and so on you'd be looking at about 90000 and that's if you sell it. only 1 out of 100 - 1000 screen plays ever get made into a movie. Basically I can see where you are coming from in terms of unfair tax treatment but I don't think there is any clear cut "this will work" answer I can give. we should try something new though... and if it doesn't work we can always switch policies to a new one or back to the way it is now. But yeah I agree we need a fair tax policy."

Norbert Kratchmer (Green Party): "Yes"

Nigel Taylor (Green Party): "Because my work with the Regina Symphony is seasonal, this issue is of particular concern to me. I support both fair tax treatment for artists and, more broadly, the policy recommendations made in the Status of the Artist Act.

In terms of social benefits, the Green Party supports the extension of the social safety net to all Canadians, artists or otherwise. We believe access to healthcare, financial assistance and, indeed, a guaranteed annual income are basic rights of every Canadian citizen. Many of the problems faced by artists stem from the refusal of the governing political parties to acknowledge these rights of every person. A social system which believes that all humans deserve economic as well as political security will go a long way to addressing the concerns faced by individual artists."

Larry Zepp (Green Party): "Yes"

Herta Barron & Peter Stroh (Liberal Party): "The Department of Canadian Heritage offers a number of important programs to provide support to Canadian artists. One example is the Cultural Initiatives Program, which facilitates the involvement of artists from across Canada in over 150 national and international art festivals and special art events. Canadian Heritage also operates a national arts training contribution program, supporting national institutions that prepare young people for professional arts careers.

The Canadian Council of Arts, the arms-length government organization that fosters and promotes the study and production of works in the arts, is another key mechanism that supports Canada’s artists. In 2004, the Council distributed $132.3 million in grants and prizes to 6,100 artists and art institutions and 14,441 writers.

The Liberal government also recognizes that reduced taxes help ease the financial burden on low-income Canadians, including many of our artists. That is why the Liberal government, starting with Budget 2000, consistently implemented policies to reduce taxation. The tax rate for individuals who make less than $35,000 annually has now been reduced to 15 percent.

Furthermore, Budget 2005 committed to the progressive increase of the basic amount Canadian’s can earn without paying federal income tax. By 2009, the taxation threshold will increase from $8,000 to $10,000. This will keep more money in the pockets of the Canadians who need it the most, including our artists and creators."

New Democratic Party on behalf of all New Democratic candidates: "Yes. New Democrats understand that Canada has an amazing array of artists and that their contribution to our identity is just as essential as our roads and other infrastructure. As such, they deserve better support and funding and tax treatment."

Anita Jackson (NDP): "Yes"

Andrew Mason (NDP): "Yes"

QUESTION: If elected, would you provide access by the self-employed to social benefits programs, including Employment Insurance.

Brett Dolter (Green Party): "That seems like a good idea. I would have to learn more about the existing regulations. I hadn’t realized that the self-employed don’t receive EI."

Mike Fornssler (Green Party): "so long as self employed people will also contribute to the EI system and other social programs when they can... I am for it."

Norbert Kratchmer (Green Party): "Yes"

Nigel Taylor (Green Party): Answer included in response to previous question - SAA


Larry Zepp (Green Party): "Yes"

Herta Barron & Peter Stroh (Liberal Party): Answer included in response to previous question - SAA

New Democratic Party on behalf of all New Democratic candidates: "In recent years, the EI system has moved further away from actually helping the people it is meant to protect all the while amassing a massive surplus in the EI fund. When only thirty-five to forty percent of workers qualify for the benefits they earned, there is clearly a problem with the program. The problem with the system does not derive from over usage by Canadians in need, rather it’s the federal government who can’t detach itself from the bounty of their forty-six billion dollar EI slush fund to give it to the Canadians who actually earned it.

New Democrats want to help Canadians work and to provide Canadians their earned E.I. benefits when they can’t. In June, New Democrat MP Yvon Godin tabled a motion on the NDP’s Opposition Day to bring about greater fairness to unemployed Canadians in high unemployment areas.

With this motion, the NDP has worked to reform the EI system and correct a significant injustice in the system. It will not be needed by every Canadian, but in those communities where work is not always readily accessible, it will lead to greater self sufficiency as it better reflects the realities of the 21st century economy"

Anita Jackson (NDP): "Yes"

Andrew Mason (NDP): "I would have to look at this more carefully before committing to a particular program. Generally I believe that the government of Canada must take into account the unique circumstances of artists and develop fair rules for social benefits for them. Artists may have particular needs that other self-employed persons do not have, so I would not want to generalize to all self-employed people."

4. Copyright Reform
Artists should have the right to retain copyright in their own work. At the time the federal election was called, Canada was reforming its copyright act so the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty Canada already approved could be ratified. Bill C-60 proposed amendments that would see artists retain copyright in their work, while also making the provision that the work is available through licensing for negotiable fees.

QUESTION: If elected, would you work for amendments to the Copyright Act that uphold the principles of creators retaining copyright and making that work available for licensing?

Brett Dolter (Green Party): "That sounds good. I would work to make sure artists get to retain ownership of their work."

Mike Fornssler (Green Party): "Yes... With the movie I am making about this election I plan on giving it away without copyright but at the same time I would like to be able to make sure people aren't going to use it for their own purposes to gain a profit unless I do also..."

Norbert Kratchmer (Green Party): "Yes"

Nigel Taylor (Green Party): "Yes, artists certainly deserve to have legal protection for their work. Considering the amount of time and energy artists put forth in the creation of their work, it only makes sense that they retain legal entitlement to both financial benefits and control of how their art is used."

Larry Zepp (Green Party): "Yes"

Herta Barron & Peter Stroh (Liberal Party): "The Liberal government remains committed to the ratification of the WIPO treaties that were signed in 1997. On June 20th, we introduced Bill C-60, a piece of legislation to update Canadian copyright laws to address new challenges raised by the internet, and provide new opportunities for Canadian copyright holders. Unfortunately, this important piece of legislation died on the Order Paper when the Opposition parties forced an early election. The Liberal Government remains committed to amending the copyright act to best serve Canadian artists and innovators."

New Democratic Party on behalf of all New Democratic candidates: "New Democrats have traditionally expressed support for measures that protect the rights of creators, and ensure that their work is valued and compensated, whether it appears on the radio, in print media, on the internet or elsewhere.

New Democrats have also expressed that any copyright legislation needs to balance the rights of creators, users and distributors. Creators must be fairly compensated for their work, and only a creator can waive that right. At the same time, users need fair access, in order to encourage a vital Canadian culture. We would support legislative measures that involve a careful balancing of all of these factors."

Anita Jackson (NDP): "I need to know more about the Copyright Reform Act, however, in principal, I support artists ability to retain copyright of their work."

Andrew Mason (NDP): "The Copyright Act now affords a great deal of protection to artists, including protection of moral rights (for example, the right to maintain the artistic integrity of a work when licensing use of the work). I am not sure what amendments are being suggested here. There are copyright issues relating to art that is published via the internet. These are the subject of recently tabled amendments to the Copyright Act. Generally, however, I believe that our copyright laws must ensure that authors of original works retain full control over the licensing, use and integrity of their work."



General Comments from Candidates

Chris Axworthy (Liberal Party): "Liberal Party Commitment to the Arts: The cultural sector contributes over 22 billion dollars to our Gross Domestic Product and employs over 640,000 Canadians. That’s almost five per cent of the total number of jobs in the country.

In the knowledge economy, cultural jobs are growing faster than other jobs, and they are more highly skilled jobs. Cultural participation forms our creativity, enriches our citizenship and nourishes our spirit.

The Liberal Party believes that arts and culture must be integrated into our lives and communities to make sure that as Canadians we can see and access our cultural products. In today’s increasingly borderless world, it’s more important than ever that we make sure our children have the opportunity to see reflections of their lives, their realities, and their stories, when they open a book, switch on the television, buy a CD, or surf the Internet.

For this reason, the Liberal Government is proud of its commitment to Arts and Heritage. In 2001, it launched the largest investment in Canadian culture: Tomorrow Starts Today. This $560 million initiative focused on ensuring the long-term sustainability of arts and heritage organizations, creating Canadian digital content on the Internet; strengthening our publishing and sound recording programs, increasing our cultural exports and supporting the branding of Canadian culture abroad. The success of Tomorrow Starts Today motivated its extension in 2004-05 and 2005-06, providing an additional $207 million and $192 million, in order to continue encouraging the creation of Canadian content that reflects the diversity of Canadian society.

The Liberal government is committed to providing predictable levels of funding for Canada’s growing arts community. For this reason, Budget 2005 further extends $172 million of new funding per year for another four years. This brings total new funding for Tomorrow Starts Today to $860 million over the next five years. This multi-year investment will help cultivate a vibrant and creative cultural lfle in communities across the country that reflects Canada’s multicultural society and promotes a diversity of views and cultural expressions at home and abroad.

In addition to Tomorrow Starts Today, the Liberal government has taken further steps to entrench our commitment to the arts and culture sector. A Liberal government is committed to:
  • Ensuring that the policies of key cultural institutions such as Telefilm, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian Television Fund have the funding a support necessary to meet the objective of producing more successful Canadian programming of all genres; and,
  • Providing, through the Canada Council, increased support for Canada’s major arts organizations in order to more effectively enable the latter to export Canadian cultural excellence.


Merv Cushman (Liberal Party): "My answer to all your Questions is "yes". I believe the Arts, whether music, painting, sculpture, writing, performance, video, movies, etc it what makes us unique as Canadians, Saskatchewanians, aboriginals, religious, etc. Our artists express who we are and help us identify ourselves.

As for specifics on your second question, on a personal level, I seek out entertainment and art from local artists for my own enjoyment and critisize anyone who illegally steals Art by copying or downloading. As a politician, I am a novice as to what new laws and policies would help and so cannot promise specific proposals other than to say I am willing to meet and consult with your group regularly for ideas and input."

Brett Dolter (Green Party): "Thanks for the opportunity to answer your survey. Along with answering these questions, I also have an idea to support the Arts sector. I was part of a group of artists who tried to start an artist-run housing co-operative in 2004 (the 11th Avenue Artists Collective). The building would have housed artists, contained a space for gallery showings and live music performances and allowed artists to generate income through the space to subsidize their own rents. In the end the project fell through, but I like this approach of lowering the cost of living for artists in order to enable them to do their art for a living. I also like the idea of artist marketing co-operatives, and art-supply purchasing co-operatives. These ideas embody the self-reliant, simple living ethic of the Green Party."

Mike Fornssler (Green Party): "Hey sorry for the late reply but it is better late than never. Anyway here is my response. I consider myself an artist and if I lose this election I will be going back to writing with some minimum wage crap job to hold me over. So yes I want better treatment of artists in Canada seeing as I am one and I realize what a son of a bitch it is to make a living in this industry."

Andrew Mason (NDP): "Thank you for your email questions. As you know, I am a strong supporter of and advocate for the arts and culture in Canada. I am attaching a copy of an interview published by the Humboldt Journal on December 15 in which I speak about the arts and culture. For a copy of the article contact the SAA. "

Lonny McKague (Liberal Party): "Thank you for your questionnaire however I do not fill them out during a campaign. Keep in mind this is for all questionnaires. I ask that you let my actions and interests speak for themselves. If you are in my riding I would be happy to discuss all types of rural concerns even those that are not traditionally discussed. Thanks."

Keith Neu (Green Party): "I don't know much about the arts but I know we have to fund and nurture the good in our lives. As a nation we have to fund all the things that enrich our lives be it the arts, the parks, and natural wilderness. As a Green Party candidate I fully endorse the party policy on culture and the arts."

Carol Skelton (Conservative Party): ”Thank you for your recent request regarding the issue of government support of the arts and culture sector.

While I recognize your efforts to become more informed prior to the federal election vote and your efforts to inform others, I regret that I can not complete the documents you have requested as it is forbidden by law.

Section 550 of the Elections Act states:
550. No candidate shall sign a written document presented by way of demand or claim made on him or her by any person or association of persons, between the issue of the writ and polling day, if the document requires the candidate to follow a course of action that will prevent him or her from exercising freedom of action in Parliament, if elected, or to resign as a member if called on to do so by any person or association of persons.

Both you and I are bound by this law and I appreciate your understanding in this matter."

Lynne Yelich (Conservative Party): "Thank you for providing me the opportunity to respond to the SAA questionnaire. I share your belief in the importance of arts and culture in Saskatchewan, and its contribution to our collective quality of life. While many of the issues covered in your questionnaire are complex and merit more than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, I will attempt to outline my general views on these issues in the paragraphs below.

First and foremost, I strongly believe that the arts and culture make a substantial contribution to Saskatchewan and Canadian society - positively affecting our daily lives. I, along with my Conservative Party colleagues, support federal funding of the arts and culture sector — provided that such support is linked to accountability, transparency and sustainability. A review of programs and policies will ensure that they effectively meet their objectives, are based on merit, and remove political involvement from the process.

Moreover, to further ensure a strong cultural presence for Canadians, a Conservative government will — through the tax system and other means — support charitable giving by individuals and corporations to the arts and cultural community in order that its work can be expanded. Likewise, we will vigorously work to strengthen opportunities and accessibility in both the domestic and international markets for our creative works.

The Conservative Party believes that we must re-examine and update our copyright legislation in order to ensure that the rights of Canadian creators are adequately protected by law, these rights are balanced with the opportunity for the public to use copyrighted works for teaching and research, and that enforcement is applied fairly and in accordance with international standards. Furthermore, a Conservative government will work with industry to develop a public education campaign to better inform users and creators on the copyright laws in Canada."

Maurice Vellacott (Conservative Party): "In response to your enquiry of December 19, 2005, please be assured that the Conservative Party of Canada supports arts and culture, and the preservation of Canada’s diverse heritage. Arts, culture and heritage make a substantial contribution to Canadian society and in a positive way, affect the quality of life of many Canadians. While recognizing Canada’s diverse culture and shared history, we will work to strengthen opportunities and accessibility in both the domestic and international markets for our creative works.

Although we would need to see a definitive plan before making a specific funding commitment to any group or organization, please be assured that funding for Canada’s arts and culture communities would be a priority for a Conservative government. The Conservative party believes that government support should be linked to accountability, transparency and sustainability. A review of programs and policies will ensure that they effectively meet their objectives, are based on merit, and remove political involvement from the process.

Additionally, a Conservative Government will, through the tax system and other means, support charitable giving by individuals and corporations to the arts and cultural community in order that its work can be expanded."