Thursday, August 16, 2007

Status of the Artist is Stalled. We Need Your Help.

SAA Alert Bulletin - June 2007

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The Status of the Artist Act, 2007 (Bill 68), legislation that would have provided real and substantive support for Saskatchewan’s artists is now stalled in the legislature. The Opposition has required continued discussion in the legislative committee process. There seems to be doubt this legislation represents the will and interests of the cultural community, despite the fact that there were well advertised and extended public hearings where the voices of the cultural community were heard, both artists and engagers.

It is heartbreaking that this legislation, perhaps the most promising ever introduced in Canada, has been held up. The politicians, both Government and Opposition, have assured the cultural community they endorse the principles of the legislation and would make advancing equity for artists a priority. At the end of the day, and at the end of the legislative session, the arts community is still waiting.

We are urging cultural forces, artists and engagers, in Saskatchewan and the rest of Canada, to register their disappointment and frustration with this turn of events. Artists and the cultural resources of this province are important to Saskatchewan's future, a message politicians need to be told once again. Artists deserve to be treated equitably and with respect, and not given empty promises.

Government and the Opposition claim the legislation can be returned to the fall legislative session and given high priority. Let us insist they live up to this commitment.

The cultural community started promoting the “Status” concept and process, equity for artists, many years ago. Now is not the time to let it die.

Provisions in the Bill include:
  • legislation to ensure collective rights and benefits for artists
  • all artists to be engaged under a written contract
  • Government to be bound by commitments to artists.


We urge you to use all possible means to register your personal and organizational support for the Status legislation. Our options are letters to MLA’s and to media sources, emails, telephone calls, meetings – anyway you can "ring the door bell".

Key people to contact now are:
Premier Lorne Calvert; lcalvert@mla.legassembly.sk.ca; premier@gov.sk.ca
Deputy Leader Pat Atkinson, patkinson@mla.legassembly.sk.ca, minister@finance.gov.sk.ca
Opposition Leader – Brad Wall; bwall@mla.legassembly.sk.ca, bradw@bradwall.com

Human Services Legislative Committee (HUS) members:
NDP: Judy Junor, Chair HUS, jjunor@mla.legassembly.sk.ca, jjunor.mla@sasktel.net; Sandra Morin, smorin@mla.legassembly.sk.ca, smorin.mla@sasktel.net; Andy Iwanchuck, andyiwanchukmla@sasktel.net; Joanne Crofford, jcrofford@mla.legassembly.sk.ca; rrosemont@sasktel.net
Sask Party: June Draude, jdraude@mla.legassembly.sk.ca; Wayne Elhard, Deputy Chair HUS, welhard@mla.legassembly.sk.ca; Don Toth, dtoth@mla.legassembly.sk.ca.

Addresses and emails of all MLAs can be found at http://www.legassembly.sk.ca/members/members.htm.


Following is a sample letter. Feel free to use it or write your own.

Date:

Dear Premier Calvert and Mr. Wall:

I urge you to ensure the Status of the Artist legislation {Bill 68} be passed by the Saskatchewan legislature in the 2007 fall session. Saskatchewan artists and engagers deserve the equity and legal security this Bill provides. Artists are vital to the life, health, social well being and economic growth of the province. This legislation will be a step to ensure fair treatment, economic and social rights for an important element of Saskatchewan’s community. Please do not put this issue on the “back burner” again.
___________________
Name/Address

cc: Sandra Morin, Minister of Culture, Youth and Recreation, smorin@mla.legassembly.sk.ca
Saskatchewan Arts Alliance, info@artsalliance.sk.ca