Thursday, September 25, 2008

NDP Response to Election 2008 Questionnaire

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September 26, 2008

RE: Questionnaire

Attached please find the response of Canada’s New Democrats to your 2008 Election questionnaire. It is the policy of our party to respond on behalf of all New Democrat candidates.

Our full platform will be released shortly and our web site is updated with all of our latest information. To find out more, we encourage you to consult: www.ndp.ca

Thank you for your interest in the views of Canada’s New Democrats on the critical issues facing Canadians.

We appreciate your efforts to help voters make an informed decision on voting day.

Sincerely,
signed by
Jack Layton
Leader of Canada’s New Democrats


Election 2008: Canadian Arts and Culture
Questions 1 – 3:
(How will you support sustainable and stable funding for arts and culture?
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?
How will you work to restore the principal foundations of diplomacy and trade programs now cut?)

New Democrats believe diversity and freedom of expression are central to our cultural identity and fundamental for a vibrant democracy and that the Conservative decision to cut key arts programs is a deliberate attack on the independence of the Canadian arts industry. An NDP government would reverse efforts to legislate censorship and would reverse the recent cuts to arts programs by the Conservative government; introduce better rules for Canadian content; increase public funding for the arts and support to artists; end the practice of net throttling by which big telecom companies rip-off consumers; strengthen public broadcasting by providing stable, long-term funding the CBC and Radio Canada; increase public funding for the Canada Council for the Arts to better support artists and ensure we can produce high quality made-in-Canada shows for everyday Canadians to enjoy; and ensure any new copyright legislation fairly addresses compensation for artists and be developed through proper stakeholder consultations with artists, artist organizations, educators, software innovators and consumer groups and others.

Canada is home to a multi-million dollar arts and film industry. The Harper cuts have damaged the economic viability of this cultural industry that creates thousands of well-paying jobs. Clearly, it is bad fiscal management to slash important programs like PromArt and Trade Routes. Programs like these are instrumental to making the arts industry and international force and help Canadian artists to market and promote their work around the world. New Democrats support restoration of these programs and a review of Canada’s international policy statement to restore arts and culture as a key aspect of public diplomacy.

New Democrats have long supported significant investment in museums. We feel that in order for Canadian museums and other heritage institutions to continue telling the story of Canada, funding must be more stable and predictable and that encourages networking so that small museums can share their collections with others. Increased investment in research of collections and acquisitions is also central to the continued updating of exhibits which keeps our museums relevant. Museums need research budget support to help challenge our perceptions of history and to respond to changing audience interest.

Question 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?)

Jack Layton and his team of New Democrats are well aware of the economic circumstances faced by artists. We will introduce income-averaging for artists, modeled directly on long-standing practice in the province of Quebec, as well as provide an annual federal tax exemption of $20,000 for income earned from copyright and residuals income.

Question 5:
(Do you support this principle as the guiding factor for arts funding, i.e. taking political involvement out of the process?)

Yes, New Democrats agree and support the principle of arms length funding in this sector.