Friday, September 26, 2008

Liberal Candidates' Responses to Questionnaire

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Ralph Goodale
1. How will you support sustainable and stable funding for arts and culture?
The Liberal Party of Canada and its candidates have always understood that Canada’s diverse arts and cultural community plays a vital role in our national identity. That is why a new Liberal government would double the budget of the Canada Council for the Arts to $360 million annually, and simultaneously reverse the cuts recently announced by the Conservative government to arts, culture and new media. Liberals are committed to helping revitalize a vital sector of the Canadian economy that in under serious threat by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s ideologically-driven mismanagement.

In addition to doubling the Canada Council’s budget, a new Liberal government will:
  • increase the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit to 30 per cent, to help Canadian filmmakers produce more great films, and to create more high-quality jobs in an industry that already employs over 125,000 people. This investment will provide about $160 million to our film industry;
  • develop and launch a Canadian Digital Media Strategy to build on the success that Canada already has achieved with digital media, with a $25-million investment to help create new, high-skilled jobs in this rapidly growing industry;
  • increase funding for Canada’s cultural agencies and industries over four years by $26 million to international arts promotion programming to help bring Canada to the world, and $16 million to the Museum Assistance Program for community museums;
  • reverse the Conservatives’ funding cuts to a number of programs aimed at supporting Canada’s arts and culture, totaling at least $44.5 million;
  • support Canadian content by directing the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to continue its requirement of Canadian production and content as a condition of broadcast licensing; and,
  • provide stability for the Canadian Television Fund (CTF) by giving it long-term funding.


Through new and restored funding, a Liberal government will help revive this vital part of Canadian society that fosters vibrant cities and communities, supports innovation, helps us understand our past and stimulates our economy.

2. How will you support and actively work for investment of federal funds in the creative economy as governments presently do for other sectors of the economy?
Investing in the creative economy will be a top priority of a new Liberal Party government. As the Conference Board of Canada said earlier this year, “Canada’s cultural sector is “a magnet for talent, an enhancer of economic performance, and a catalyst for prosperity.” They determined that the arts and culture in Canada leaves an economic footprint of $84.6 billion, representing 7.4 per cent of Canadian GDP, and directly or indirectly accounted for 1.1 million jobs in 2007. The Liberal Party clearly recognizes arts and culture as a major economic driver in the Canadian economy that deserves generous government support.

By doubling funding to the Canada Council for the Arts over the next four years, a Liberal government will continue to support this artistic economic contribution by enabling the Canada Council to make significant investments in Canada’s artists, creators, and arts institutions. With this investment, we help give Canadian artists the tools they need to create exciting, vibrant products for all Canadians.

3. How will you work to restore the principal foundations of diplomacy and trade programs now cut?
The Harper Conservatives gutted the Public Diplomacy Program, which allows our diplomats to use Canadian artists and cultural products to gain access to and influence decision makers overseas. A Liberal government will make it a priority to reverse these recent cuts and reinvest the funding cut from the Public Diplomacy Program in 2006 back into the program.

4. Would you support the sector’s call for Canada Revenue Agency to adopt a fair tax policy for artists including income averaging? And would you provide access for self-employed to social benefits, including Employment Insurance?
Liberal Party candidates believe that support for Canada’s arts and culture must also extend to support for artists themselves. That is why a Liberal government will provide income averaging for artists, drawing on the inspiration of Quebec’s income-averaging provisions. This will ensure that the tax system will better reflect the peaks and valleys of the artistic work cycle. This is an important tool for helping this country’s writers, artists and musicians continue to excel.

5. Do you support this principle as the guiding factor for arts funding, i.e. taking political involvement out of the process?
Yes. While this Conservative government wants to impose its paternal, right-wing ideology on the arts, one that picks and chooses which art is “good” for people and which art is “bad”, Liberals believe that Canadian filmmakers and artists but should be given more tools to help them succeed rather than censored. The Liberal Party believes in maintaining arms-length relationships with arts and culture organizations such as the Canada Council for the Arts, whose mandate is to promote the production, study and enjoyment of Canadian works of art and culture free from the political-interference.

Deb Ehmann
Good afternoon Kim.

The Liberal Party believes that the arts and cultural community plays a vital role in our national identity; we do not believe that it is a niche issue. We fully support the CBC.

Additionally, the Liberal Party has pledged that we will reverse the recent Conservative cuts to the arts, double the annual funding to the Canada Council for the Arts, increase the Canadian Film & Video Production tax credit to 30%, and provide income-averaging for artists to help this country's writers, artists and musicians continue to excel.

Please feel free to ask us any additional questions.

Team Ehmann