Monday, February 15, 2010

The Canadian Arts and the Olympic Games

Mark Leiren-Young wrote a great opinion column over at The Tyee about the 90% cuts to culture funding in BC, and how it doesn't mesh with the image of Canada the government hopes to project to the world through the Olympic games. He says:

The next time a Liberal MLA -- or anyone -- goes on a rant about the value of arts and culture, skip the stats about how the arts return $1.30 to the economy for every government dollar invested. Don't mention the fact that culture creation is genuinely green. Don't bother pointing out that pretty much every other industry in Canada has some sort or subsidy, incentive or tax break attached to it. And forget the reality that if our galleries, museums and theatres start to close, our tourism industry will be about as inviting as a Stephen Harper smile. Ask them what Canada decided to show off when millions of people tuned in from around the world to find out what our country was all about.

Unless I missed something, there were no spectacular shots of our highways, no visits to mills or mines -- and, with all due respect to our Greatest Canadian, Tommy Douglas, there wasn't any footage of someone on the Olympic stage receiving affordable health care.

The Canadian heroes chosen to share the world stage with our Olympic athletes weren't our politicians, lawyers, or civil servants and our military presence consisted of General Romeo Dallaire, who was introduced as an author. Oh, right, they also threw in an astronaut to represent non-artsy Canadians.

For the next few weeks we're not showing the world our banks, our office towers, or our tar sands -- we're pointing at inukshuks.



1 comment:

  1. Hi. Thanks for spreading the word with this piece. The severity of the BC Arts cuts... and the potential impact... unfathomable.
    All the best with your writing.
    Mark Leiren-Young

    ReplyDelete