Thursday, April 21, 2011

SAA Bulletin: April 20, 2011

Election 2011 - Canadian Arts and Culture

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Saskatchewan Arts Alliance sent a questionnaire, with a deadline of April 19th, to all Saskatchewan federal election candidates asking about their views on arts and cultural issues. We received comments from 3 candidates: Greg Chatterson (Green Party), John Parry (NDP), and Vicki Strelioff (Green Party).

We asked candidates to express their personal views which would enhance the information the Canadian Conference of the Arts requested of the major federal parties about their positions on the arts, culture and heritage sector. (The CCA received replies from the Bloc Québécois, Green, Liberal and NDP parties. See http://www.ccarts.ca/en/advocacy/bulletins/2011/1611.htm).

It is disappointing to see that the arts and culture sector doesn't warrant the interest of many candidates. Considering its size and economic impact, the sector deserves attention and political commitment. It is widely recognized for its multi-faceted role in contributing to personal and community development, enhancing social cohesion, improving quality of life, and as a driver of Canada's economy.

The responses of the candidates who did reply are included below. The SAA did not edit the candidates' comments but in some cases organized the answers under the relevant questions in our questionnaire.


Questions for Saskatchewan Candidates

1. How will you support and actively work for sustainable and stable funding for arts and culture? Critical to this question is funding of central federal agencies such as the Canada Council for the Arts, CBC, Canada Media Fund, the Canada Music Fund, the National Film Board and Telefilm.

Greg Chatterson
Some of your answers can be found in our policy manual which can be accessed at greenparty.ca look for vision green it is well indexed and easy to use. I believe question 1 falls with in the policy

John Parry
Re Q1, to me it is obvious that funding at pre-2008 levels should be guaranteed – and built upon, when the economy permits. Many of the recent cuts are, IMHO, politically-motivated.

Vicki Strelioff
- First, we need to make sure artists and professionals involved in arts and culture have a stable, living income
- Arts & culture are the heart and soul of society; we need to provide adequate funding to the organizations who provide for keeping arts and culture vibrant like the above mentioned as well as the regional and local ones.


2. Cultural diplomacy and international trade markets are important to sustaining and building Canada’s international image and markets. How will you work to reintroduce arts and culture as a component of Canadian foreign policy?

Greg Chatterson
Question 2. is something that in consultation with organizations such as yourselves there could solutions provided. I would be willing to work towards that end.

John Parry
Re Q2, there are a wide range of small and subtle ways in which the arts and culture can and should be recognised. The key to them is an attitude shift from the ‘Harper years’ in which they were discounted.

Vicki Strelioff
Arts & culture are a great tool for keeping peace and diplomacy among nations. We are all one world and share many of the same experiences, though sometimes different, in our music, dance, crafts, etc. If we use these similarities and focus less on the differences, Canada can join in being an instrument of peace in the world.


3. Canada’s artists are world class. But their economic circumstances are well below that of other workers. Their work conditions are unique, and they are often self-employed, relying on seasonal work with incomes that fluctuate enormously year to year. Policies need to be reformed to reflect the economic realities of artists’ work. Would you support the adoption of a fair tax policy for artists with measures that address the realities of self-employed artists and creators? How will you work to improve the social safety net available to self-employed creators?"

Greg Chatterson
In support of the artistic community, potential should be encouraged as an issue of pride for the country. If tax laws could stimulate this then they should be changed. The social safety net would be addressed in our views for a guaranteed annual income that can be found in vision green.

John Parry
I would work to reinstate General Averaging, and ensure that accounting for inventories, tools and stock-in-trade did not increase taxes.

Vicki Strelioff
I fully believe in supporting our creative Canadians so that can produce their craft without the burden of poverty. (See details in Vision Green)


4. Canada's intellectual property law is in urgent need of modernization so that the country is in line with its international obligations and so Canadian creators are able to protect their work. What is your position on modernizing the Copyright Act? How will you work to ensure fair compensation for creators and other rights holders and to facilitate access of cultural works by Canadians without undermining existing rights?"

Greg Chatterson
My apologies but I must plead ignorance to the copyrights act. I have never studied it and don't have the time to study it during this election. I would have to rely on guidance from those concerned parties. If I am elected I could dedicate the time required to that issue as part of my employment duties to you the voter.

John Parry
I do not have the depth of understanding of this issue to comment intelligently. Charlie Angus our Culture spokesman – a professional musician - ensures the Parliamentary Caucus is well aware of such issues.

Vicki Strelioff
To me, it is only common sense that the creators of work should have their rights of ownership protected. With the changes in technology, we really need to revamp the Copyright Act to reflect these changes so that a fair and just policy is in place.


General Comments

Greg Chatterson
Your concerns are near and dear to my heart. I am an artist, I design and build stone, brick and masonry monuments and although my work has always been paid for by individual contracts I would love to get paid just to create from free expression.

I believe art and culture are a very important component of any society. These are the mediums that preserve traditions and are an expression of the society they are created from. They are a grounding yet they are a gratifying release of creative energy that should be exploited by the individual and the greater society for the mutual benefit of all. There are great things that can be learned from cultures that have been developed over the ages and to destroy those depositories of wisdom and loose the basis of that wisdom is a tragedy for all.

I hope this has been of assistance in your voting decisions.

John Parry
I am fully in agreement with your propositions and points.